As several hospitals across the country continue to report an oxygen shortage, several claims on social media have been doing the round suggesting ways to “produce” oxygen at home or “provide instant relief” to the patients in case the levels fall.
Another such claim, which states that burning cow dung with desi ghee (clarified butter) will “produce oxygen at home.”
However, we spoke to experts who said that there is no truth to the claim and that the process of burning, in general, does not produce oxygen, rather it consumes it.
The claim mentions that oxygen can be produced at home if cow dung and desi ghee are mixed together and burnt. It further states that 10 grams of ghee can convert 1,000 tonnes of air into oxygen.
WHAT WE FOUND
To be able to analyse the claim, let’s first understand the combustion process. Combustion is defined as a chemical process wherein a substance reacts with oxygen and gives off heat.
In order for the process of combustion to take place, one requires a substance to be burned, sources of oxygen and heat. Combustion, then, leads to creation of exhausts and releases heat.
We spoke to Abhijit Mazumdar, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at IIT Bombay, who said that there is absolutely no truth to the viral claim.
“First of all, burning process is something that consumes oxygen. Whatever you burn, it cannot produce oxygen, rather it consumes oxygen. Secondly, converting one element to another element can only be done with the help of nuclear reactions.”Abhijit Mazumdar, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at IIT Bombay
He further clarified that one needs a temperature that you get inside the core of sun for such nuclear reactions to take place.
“If you create smoke in the room, it will create distress to the patient who is facing breathing problems,” he added.
Guruswamy Kumaraswamy, Professor of Chemical Engineering at IIT Bombay, too, reiterated that one will have to use oxygen to burn a substance and that burning cannot produce oxygen.