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Stupid question - is it possible to use up all the oxygen in your room?

  1. May 25, 2011 #1
    I have a stupid question to ask you all.

    Let's just say that you shut your door, and then shut all your windows so there isn't any ventilation and stayed in your room for several days. Could you end up breathing until you've reduced the oxygen to dangerous levels?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2011 #2
    If it's completely sealed and there's no other source of oxygen, then sure.
  4. May 26, 2011 #3
    And how long would it take to run out of oxygen?

    I often wonder if there's a tiny little gap of say, 1 square cm to the outside world, would you rate of oxygen consumption beat the inflow of oxygen?
  5. May 26, 2011 #4
    Stupid question, you bet you!
    Not so stupid answer though:
    Go study partial differential equations, and determine for yourself the air flow given the size of the hole, temperature, etc.... after factoring in all these variables then determine how big the hole has to be. Btw, in a room built out of wood, the oxygen would still get through, so this needs to be a room of plastic; why don't you tell us how big the whole has to be to substain life? Go now, study :p
  6. May 26, 2011 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    The short answer is that you'd need a ridiculously well sealed building to create such a problem. I once ran across a building that used to be a FEMA office and it was designed pretty air tight, so it required continuous ventilation to keep the air quality acceptable.

    Note, though, that you can't "use up all the oxygen" in a room: It isn't lack of oxygen that would kill you, it is too much CO2.
  7. May 28, 2011 #6
    If you use completely compartmentalized room then yes. But When the O2 level decrease to certain level the partial pressure of O2 is so low that haemoglobin would not combine with oxygen, then you are just going to die before it is completely used up. So It's never going to "use up" literally.
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