It is a mainstay in the menu of any escape room game where the players are confined and have just 60 minutes to find a way out before the air runs out. This includes evading capture in a submarine or breaking out of a home safe. Or as a member of the crew of an oxygen-starved space station. As far as we can tell, the notion of an escape room kids party is universally known. Even so, that’s a intriguing idea. Suppose we want to go to the darkest possible extreme with it. How long would you last if you were trapped inside a room with no way out? Let’s take a look at the data and the science today.
Who Is Stuck Inside?
People usually participate in Mystery Room as part of a larger group (or “team”). Therefore, you will be spending little time alone. However, the more people in the area are eating up oxygen, the shorter everyone’s lifespan will be. Let us begin by informing you that there will be just one other person in the escape room with you. The oxygen needs of a young toddler and an elderly grandmother will drastically differ. On the other hand, it’s generally best to have as many people there as possible to increase your chances of escape. After all, the more heads you have working on the problems, the faster you can escape. Let’s pretend for the sake of argument that you’ve rounded together a group of nine buddies to play. If ten of you are in here, you are progressively suffocating.
The scale of an Escape Room
We need to consider the room’s dimensions and the air volume it can contain in cubic meters. The room must be 3m by 4m and 2.5m high so that all 10 participants can move freely and comfortably. A total volume of 30 cubic meters is thus calculated for the space. The importance of a typical human being is estimated to be 0.1 cubic meters for the sake of precision. Since there are ten of us, we need to retreat one cubic meter. There’s just enough space for 29 cubic meters of air when we’re all packed here.
Is There Enough Air to Breathe Here?
The oxygen and breathable air in the room will vary greatly depending on your location and altitude. We’ll use a standard % oxygen content of 21% to simplify our computations. We can now calculate that 6,090 of our room’s 29,000 cubic meters of air will contain oxygen. It has been estimated that a person completely at ease will use around 550 liters of oxygen daily.
Carbon Dioxide: The Hidden Threat
Unfortunately, the oxygen level in the air is not the only thing to consider. Players need to consume oxygen when they exhale for apparent reasons. Meanwhile, their carbon dioxide output is increasing. Remember that low oxygen levels won’t kill the team until the carbon dioxide levels reach lethal levels. In-breath carbon dioxide concentrations average 0.04%, whereas out-breath concentrations average 4%. You’ve probably heard that carbon dioxide is quite toxic. When the carbon dioxide level in the room reaches 4%, our guys are in serious trouble. The truth is that the 4% carbon dioxide level will be achieved in a little over two and a half hours, even though it claims to have adequate oxygen for 21 hours. That’s a severe shift, for sure.
Don’t Freak Out, No Matter What!
Given that assumptions are the root of all evil, it’s clear that our estimates are still way off. That’s because we’re presuming a state of calm and near-perfect stillness on the part of these ten individuals. But as you know from experience, no one in an escape room remains motionless for more than a nanosecond. Everyone would be in a frenzy if they knew they were about to die in a sealed room with a ticking clock. With the carbon dioxide levels increasing and only 2.5 hours to get out, it’s easy to see why many gamers would fear it. It would lead to a rapid depletion of oxygen and a dangerous buildup of carbon dioxide. In the blind panic scenario, the participants’ heads would hurt after only a few minutes. After one hour, they will feel dizzy, cold, and sick. After around 2 hours, the participants will start to feel the effects of fatigue. In about half an hour, everybody will have gone out from exhaustion.
The Bottom Line: Is It Good?
Ten people could survive for around two and a half hours in a small escape room, probably the most feasible response to such a grave event. Remember that carbon dioxide poisoning will kill the players before they run out of oxygen. If you ever find yourself stranded in an underwater submarine or on a space station with a gradual loss of oxygen, try to get out as soon as possible. But remember that fewer players means more extended life expectancy for you. Then, you had better start hunting for a hefty object or a knife to use as a weapon.