Scuba Safety

Relating gas laws to Scuba Diving

By: Clayton Milligan

Boyle's law

At constant temperature for a fixed mass, the absolute pressure and the volume of a gas are inversely proportional.

Charles's Law

An experimental gas law which describes how gases tend to expand when heated.

Dalton's Law

In a mixture of non-reacting gases, the total pressure exerted is equal to the sum of the partial pressures of the individual gases.

Gay-Lussac's Law

Gas Pressure and Temperature Relationship 6:42. 8:03. The Ideal Gas Law and the Gas Constant.

Henry's Law

At a 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

Known better as "Decompression Sickness" divers get this when staying underwater for too long and then rising too the surface too quickly. When divers go up too fast they tend to be like a pop can and all the nitrogen is released. The side effects are very painful conditions that are sometimes fatal. If a diver gets this their option to get better is to enter a pressurized chamber where the pressure inside matches the pressure at the depth the diver was at.

Henry's Law

Air Embolisms

An air embolism is an air bubble trapped in a vein or artery. The air bubbles can also be fatal due to the bubble becoming big enough and cutting off blood circulation to a certain part of the body. A diver can get air embolisms if they hold their breathe while rising to the surface too rapidly which sends their lungs into shock or by getting decompression sickness. Side effects are are heart trembles, anxiety, blurring of vision, and many more. The only choice of getting rid of these bubbles is for a diver to lie vertically in a hyperbaric chamber and receive a mixture of gasses at a high pressure to restore normal gasses.

Boyle's Law

Oxygen Toxicity

Divers get oxygen toxicity by breathing molecular oxygen at increased partial pressures. This can cause the retina to detach from the eye and also seizures. Oxygen toxicity can be treated in no way and the sufferer must live with it.

Dalton's Law

USCG Medical Emergency: The Bends