Nitrox - All You Needed To Know

Know what you breathe before you take that plunge! Know what you breathe before you take that plunge!
What is Nitrox? Air is mainly made up of two gases – 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen (1% other gases). We metabolise some oxygen in the air we breathe but the greater part, the nitrogen, is inert. When we put ourselves under pressure, as we do when we go under water, our bodies absorb some of this inert nitrogen. As we go deeper and stay longer we absorb more. The time that we spend underwater is limited by the amount of that nitrogen we absorb. That is why we used to use tables or, more recently, a diving-computer. So why not breathe an air that has less inert nitrogen gas and so reduce the problem? If you’ve been breathing air, you’ve already been breathing nitrox – nitrox21. Other nitrox mixes have the percentage of oxygen increased and therefore the percentage of nitrogen is decreased. Nitrox 32 has 32% oxygen and nitrox36 has 36% oxygen.Nitrox Diving Breathing a richer nitrox mix instead of plain old air reduces the chance of decompression illness due to a diver staying down too long or coming up too quickly - providing no-stop times and ascent-rates for air are adhered to. If you want to continue with conventional levels of caution you can simply adjust your decompression requirement by adjusting your computer to match the nitrox mix you use and in that way get more time underwater.Scuba Jump However oxygen too has its problems too. Pure oxygen becomes poisonous at quite low pressures. It is currently thought unsafe to breathe pure oxygen at a greater pressure than 1.6 bars underwater and that occurs at only 6m deep. Therefore each specific nitrox mix has its own maximum operating depth and nitrox training agencies are unanimous in limiting the use of oxygen to 1.4bars of partial pressure within a mix with nitrogen._DSC0019 What you need to know is that the oxygen in air (nitrox21) can become hazardous at 54m deep. That does not affect leisure divers limited to an absolute maximum depth of 40m. A standard mix of nitrox32 should not be breathed deeper than 32m. Some training agencies tells new divers that this limit is 30m. Most popular sites for diving in the world now adhere to a 30m limit for leisure diving anyway. PADI Open Water Divers with Level One training are still limited to a maximum depth of 18m during training as before but suitably qualified divers can use nitrox32 to its full maximum operating depth (MOD).
No additional equipment is need in the water. No additional equipment is need in the water.
So for nitrox mixes up to 40% oxygen, no additional diving equipment is needed, only the knowledge of how to analyse the contents of a tank before diving, using the analyser supplied by the dive-centre and knowing how to set your computer to match. The day is foreseen when all new divers will start off breathing nitrox and air for diving will only be for specialised uses. More advanced divers that have been deeper than normal leisure diving depths use nitrox to speed up their decompression.
Using a richer Nitrox in an additional tank to speed up decompression after a deep dive. Using a richer Nitrox in an additional tank to speed up decompression after a deep dive.
They take additional tanks of rich nitrox with them and swap to these once they have ascended shallow enough for it to be safe do so. There are more advanced diving computers that allow you to set different levels of nitrox and to switch to the one that matches the actual mix the diver is currently breathing, and in that way track both decompression requirements and oxygen exposure accurately. All the diving computers sold at Ocean Leisure are nitrox compatible. If you want to know how to take high-speed sequences of pictures or successfully take photographs underwater, ask the guys at Ocean Leisure Cameras.

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