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Elements: Oxygen in Industry

August 12th, 2015

Episode 325 of 643 episodes

Why is oxygen essential to steelmaking, how do you extract it from the air, and can you inhale too much of it? Answering these questions leaves presenter Justin Rowlatt almost breathless. Prof Andrea Sella demonstrates the convenience and power of this bulk chemical, whilst Laurence Knight heads to BOC's air separation unit in Fawley to see how it is mass produced. Meanwhile Justin climbs a mountain, scuba dives and pedals like mad on an exercise bike inside a low oxygen chamber. But it's all in the name of science, as husband-and-wife medics-cum-mountaineers Denny Levett and Mike Grocott explain. (Picture: Justin Rowlatt in the UCL hypoxia chamber. Credit: Laurence Knight/BBC)