Authors: Karel Roubík, Karel Sýkora, Ladisla Sieger, Václav Ort, Lenka Horáková, Šimon Walzel


Roubik, K., Sykora, K., Sieger, L. et al. Perlite is a suitable model material for experiments investigating breathing in high density snow. Sci Rep 12, 2070 (2022).

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Outdoor breathing trials with simulated avalanche snow are fundamental for the research of the gas exchange under avalanche snow, which supports the development of the international resuscitation guidelines. However, these studies have to face numerous problems, including unstable weather and variable snow properties. This pilot study examines a mineral material perlite as a potential snow model for studies of ventilation and gas exchange parameters. Thirteen male subjects underwent three breathing phases—into snow, wet perlite and dry perlite. The resulting trends of gas exchange parameters in all tested materials were similar and when there was a significant difference observed, the trends in the parameters for high density snow used in the study lay in between the trends in dry and wet perlite. These findings, together with its stability and accessibility year-round, make perlite a potential avalanche snow model material. Perlite seems suitable especially for simulation and preparation of breathing trials assessing gas exchange under avalanche snow, and potentially for testing of new avalanche safety equipment before their validation in real snow.

Perlite is a suitable model material for experiments investigating
breathing in high density snow.


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