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Saturation Diving and Liquid Breathing

May 12, 2015

Commercial divers use surface supplied breathing apparatus to stay submerged underwater while performing their tasks. Aside from that, they would also bring air mix tanks for emergency purposes. Divers are not capable of staying underwater for a prolonged period of time due to the pressure level of the water that surrounds them which increases ten fold compared to the normal sea level and that pressure depends on the depth of the dive. The deeper the dive, the higher the pressure and risks.

There are some instances that assignments must be carried out longer than necessary where descend and ascend can be extremely time consuming. Therefore, the idea of underwater habitats came into being. This type of diving is called saturation diving.

This technique can allow divers to go to a certain depth until saturation has been reached. Saturation diving prevents possible decompression sickness (also known as “the bends”). Although divers must still undergo decompression upon resurfacing, the time they have to be in the chambers has relatively shortened making this process efficient and cost effective.

Continuous improvements in diving techniques are being researched. Despite the success of the saturation diving, scientists are still looking into another significant breakthrough to assist divers in performing their operations underwater. Liquid breathing is being considered to be applied in the future where divers will breathe non-compressible liquid perfluorocarbon compound instead of gas. Since no gas is involved, nitrogen will not build up and form bubbles in the blood stream.  

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