Color in Science: Is My Blood Really Blue?

Color in Science: Is My Blood Really Blue?


You probably learned your basic human anatomy sometime around grade school. Textbooks said your blood was red and a scraped knee on the playground confirmed it. We bleed red because of hemoglobin, an iron-containing protein that carries oxygen throughout the body. Hemoglobin is comprised of iron, which oxidizes as red like rust, causing our blood to be bright red when oxygen rich. So...

Why Are My Blood Veins Blue?


Well, they're not. They're a dirty red. Of course, the darker blood won't be as dark outside of the body because it will oxidize when hitting air, but it still contains waste from cells. Seeing a vein as blue through the skin is because of the layer just below the epidermis and dermis, the two outer layers of skin. Because our skin's "job" is to protect our bodies from the sun, this provides an interference for how light penetrates the skin by allowing only lower frequency light through, and color is light bounced off of an object, after all. The wavelengths that do make it through to the veins are high-energy blue.

heart_diagram.gif

Because of diagrams like this one and medical charts using blue for the contrast of arteries and veins, it has become a common misconception that the blood in veins is blue. Even some of my science teachers have previously said that blood from veins is blue before it hits air... where instantly it's changed to bright red.

Seen under vacuum conditions, this has been disproved.

For more information about blood: Wikipedia Entry on Blood

 

Image from www.kidshealth.org

 
While there are creatures out there with blue blood, humans are not one of them. Horseshoe crabs, skinks, and octopi all have haemocyanins, which are clear before oxidization, and blue after binding oxygen to their copper composition.
 

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14 Comments
Showing 1 - 14 of 14 Comments
Team

PureForm

Imagine how upset the Crips will be

Arandano

and the blue princess?

it is because of hemofilia, so that their parents were prime

ruecian

You might be referring to Cyanosis. I'm not sure whom you're referring to by 'the blue princess.'

lulusartshack

I can attest, that when you actually cut a vein out of the body it is not blue, and arteries are not red either. They're all tan-ish. Arterial blood is much brighter than venous though, and there is a condition where your blood can turn chocolate brown called methemoglobinemia (coincidentally, the treatment is methylene blue).

tepi

Octopus blood is blue -- uses copper instead of iron to carry the oxygen molecules!
octopusblood

mistercliff

I was taught this wrong back in junior high and high school science class. I also thought that pineapples grew on trees, but this too was proved wrong with a trip to Hawaii.

Tawny

Who knew?!?! Thanks for the post.

bernieg

Thanks. Interesting.

cipher10000

WOULD SOMEONE GIVE ME SOME PROVEN SCIENCE HERE INSTEAD OF HOW THE BODY FUNCTIONS AS AN EXPLANATION?

Q What color is the blood while in the body?
This means before bleeding!
This means before the drawing of blood!

The cells don't define the color of what gives them nutrients and oxygen!

***Use scientific (physically proven)facts please and no more rambling on functions****

Rosalieart

cipher10000 wrote:
WOULD SOMEONE GIVE ME SOME PROVEN SCIENCE HERE INSTEAD OF HOW THE BODY FUNCTIONS AS AN EXPLANATION?

Q What color is the blood while in the body?
This means before bleeding!
This means before the drawing of blood!

The cells don't define the color of what gives them nutrients and oxygen!

***Use scientific (physically proven)facts please and no more rambling on functions****



...do you suggest we make little windows to go in and check? T.T under vacuum conditions means that there's no extra air or anything. besides which, form follows function.

YesVirginia

cipher10000 wrote:
The cells don't define the color of what gives them nutrients and oxygen!


... what? i'm entirely certain chemical composition of different cells ... wait, what? the color of what gives them ...

but yeah, vacuum. no air. there's your science.

another fun fact! in broviet russia, cool story tells you ;D.

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