By Rachel Braun
Charles's Law: States that the volume of a gas is directly related to the temperature when there is no change in the pressure or amount of gas.
Dalton's Law: States that the total pressure exerted by a homogeneous mixture of gases is equal to the sum of the partial pressures of the individual gases.
Gay-Lussac's Law: States that at constant volume, the pressure of an ideal gas gas is directly proportional to its absolute temperature.
Henry's Law: States that at constant temperature, the amount of a given gas that dissolves in a given type and volume of liquid is directly proportional to the partial pressure of that gas in equilibrium with that liquid.
The Bends (Decompression Syndrome)
Dangers: blocking blood flow and disrupting blood vessels and nerves by stretching and tearing them.
Side Effects: Pain in and around joints, fatigue, rashes, itching, burning pain in chest, cough, difficulty breathing, low back pain, dizziness
Treatment: hyperbaric chambers, high-flow oxygen and IV fluids
Gas Laws: Henry's law (as pressure increases, solubility of gases in liquids increases) is applied because when a diver descends, the nitrogen inhaled has no place to escape and when under pressure gets soluble in the bloodstream, muscles, and tissues. The problem comes when the diver ascends and the pressure is released. The nitrogen tries to escape and can form bubbles causing the bends.
Dangers: respiratory failure, heart failure
Symptoms: difficulty breathing, chest pain, muscle or joint pain, stroke, confusion, loss of consciousness, low-blood pressure, blue skin hue
Treatment: surgery, hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Gas Laws: Boyle's law applies because it states that a gas will expand during the lungs as the pressure decreases when a diver returns to the surface. If a diver doesn't expel airs from his lungs while ascending the volume of the lungs can expand twice their size and ultimately explode.
Dangers: drowning, death, lung damage
Symptoms: seizure, facial twitch, tunnel vision, ringing in ears, nausea, irritability, dizziness, vertigo, difficulty breathing
Treatment: ascend to shallower depths and seek medical assistance based on symptoms present
Gas Laws: Dalton's law applies here. If you have a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen and you add pressure, both the nitrogen and oxygen will compress equally. As a diver descends they breathe increasingly more dense air. Dalton's law dictates that the diver is breathing more nitrogen and oxygen molecules per breathe the deeper they go. Increased partial pressures of oxygen can cause toxicity.
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