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    The Physics Of Scuba Diving: Swimming with the Fish Essay

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    The Physics Of Scuba Diving: Swimming with the Fish Essay Have you ever wondered what it would be like to swim with the fish andexplore the underwater jungle that covers two-thirds of the earth’s surface? Ihave always been interested in water activities; swimming, diving and skiing,and I felt that scuba was for me.

    My first dive took place while on a familyvacation. I came across a dive shop offering introductory dives, whichimmediately caught my interest. After much convincing (my parents), with mysolemn assurance that I would be careful, I was allowed to participate in a dive. I was ready, or so I thought. The slim basics such as breathing were explainedand I was literally tossed in. Sounds easy enough, right!, well WRONG!!.

    Fromthe moment I hit the water, my experience was much less than fun. I quicklysank to the bottom into a new world, with unfamiliar dangers. I really wasn’tready for this experience. I was disorientated, causing me to panic, whichshortened the length of my dive, not to mention my air supply. Let’s just say Iwould not do that again. To start exploring the underwater world, one must first master a fewskills.

    Certification is the first step of learning to dive. From qualifiedprofessionals one must learn how to use the equipment, safety precautions, andthe best places to dive. This paper is designed to help give a generalunderstanding of the sport and the importance that physics plays in it. Self-contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, or SCUBA for short, is a hell of a lotof fun.

    However, there is considerably more to Diving than just putting on awetsuit and strapping some compressed air onto ones back. As I quickly learned,diving safely requires quite a bit more in terms of time, effort, andpreparation. When one goes underwater, a diver is introduced to a new andunfamiliar world, where many dangers exist, but can be avoided with properlessons and understanding. With this knowledge the water is ours to discover. The Evolution of Scuba Diving Divers have penetrated the oceans through the centuries for the purposeof acquiring food, searching for treasure, carrying out military operations,performing scientific research and exploration, and enjoying the aquaticenvironment.

    Bachrach (1982) identified the following five principal periods inthe history of diving which are currently in use. Free (or breath-hold) diving,bell diving, surface support or helmet (hard hat) diving, scuba diving, and,saturation diving or atmospheric diving (Ketels, 4)SCUBA DIVING The development of self-contained underwater breathing apparatusprovided the free moving diver with a portable air supply which, although finitein comparison with the unlimited air supply available to the helmet diver,allowed for mobility. Scuba diving is the most frequently used mode inrecreational diving and, in various forms, is also widely used to performunderwater work for military, scientific, and commercial purposes. There were many steps in the development of a successful self-containedunderwater system.

    In 1808, Freiderich yon Drieberg invented a bellows-in-a-boxdevice that was worn on the diver’s back and delivered compressed air from thesurface. This device, named Triton, did not actually work but served to suggestthat compressed air could be used in diving, an idea initially conceived of byHalley in 1716. (Ketels, 9) In 1865, two French inventors, Rouquayrol and Denayrouse, developed asuit that they described as “self-contained. ” In fact, their suit was not selfcontained but consisted of a helmet-using surface-supported system that had anair reservoir that was carried on the diver’s back and was sufficient to provideone breathing cycle on demand.

    The demand valve regulator was used with surfacesupply largely because tanks of adequate strength were not yet available tohandle air at high pressure. This system’s demand valve, which was automaticallycontrolled, represented a major breakthrough because it permitted the diver tohave a breath of air when needed. The Rouquayrol and Denayrouse apparatus wasdescribed with remarkable accuracy in Jules Verne’s classic, Twenty ThousandLeagues Under The Sea, which was written in 1869, only 4 years after theinventors had made their device public (Ketels, 10). Semi-Self-Contained Diving Suit The demand valve played a critical part in the later development of oneform of scuba apparatus. In the 1920’s, a French naval officer, Captain Yves LePrieur, began work on a self-contained air diving apparatus that resulted in1926 in the award of a patent, shared with his countryman Fernez. This .

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