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Henry’s Law:
Henry’s Law states that the amount of gas dissolved in a liquid is proportional to the amount of pressure put on the liquid. In other words, gas can dissolve into a liquid, and when there is more pressure, more gas dissolves into the liquid. When you scuba dive, the air you breath dissolves into your blood and tissues. When scuba diving, the deeper underwater you dive, the more nitrogen will dissolve into your blood. Too much nitrogen in your blood is bad.


Pressure under water:
The deeper underwater a scuba diver goes, the more pressure will be put upon them. Pressure is measured in atmospheres. When at the surface, the pressure put upon us is one atmosphere. Underwater, at each interval of 33 feet, another atmosphere of pressure is added. So at a depth of 33 feet, a diver is under the pressure of 2 atmospheres. And at depth of 66 feet, a diver is under the pressure of 3 atmospheres.

The Bends:

When one is under too great of a pressure, or underwater for too long, nitrogen is dissolved into the bloodstream. More nitrogen is absorbed into the body under these conditions because it enters faster than it can leave the body. This causes Decompression sickness or the bends. Bubbles of nitrogen can get stuck in the capillaries of the body near our skin. If the bubbles develop near the joints, you will feel a severe pain which causes you to bend over in agony, hence the nickname of this sickness: “the bends.” If the bubbles form near the skin, a painful rash will develop. The only way to treat Decompression sickness is to spend about four hours in a hyperbaric chamber. However, it can be avoided by following the dive tables and making a safety stop at 15 feet when diving.

 

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