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Carbon Monoxide Making Carbon Monoxide (the COGen)
For over a decade, Exit International has investigated the use of carbon monoxide. Since the compressed gas is difficult to source, Exit has developed generators that produce the carbon monoxide gas when and as required. The first carbon monoxide generator (the COGen) made use of the chemical reaction (catalytic breakdown) that takes place when formic acid is added to sulphuric acid.
In the original model (Fig 6.5) the formic acid was placed in an intravenous bag and allowed to drip into the reaction chamber containing the sulphuric acid. The gas produced was then fed to the mannequin using nasal prongs. Filmmaker Janine Hosking recorded this first demonstration at Exit’s laboratory in late 2002, and the sequence was shown in the film Mademoiselle and the Doctor.
Since that time other methods of carbon monoxide generation have been investigated. Methods include the partial oxidation of carbon (charcoal), the reduction and catalytic conversion of oxalic acid, and the reaction between powdered zinc and calcium carbonate.
Fig 6.6. COGen 4 on fume cupboard test bench with acid bottles and CO monitor