Encyclopedia > Bends

  Article Content

Bends

The bends (properly called decompression sickness) is a condition experienced by divers who ascend too quickly. When air under high pressure is breathed for any length of time, nitrogen dissolves in the body fluids: release of the outside pressure causes the gas to come back out of solution, and form bubbles in the blood. The physiologist J.S. Haldane[?] studied this problem in the early 20th century, eventually devising the method of staged, gradual decompression, whereby the pressure on the diver is released slowly enough that the nitrogen comes gradually out of solution without forming bubbles.

Because helium has a far lower solubility in water, deep-sea divers nowadays breathe heliox (helium/oxygen mix).

An alternative name is caisson disease; this name comes from the 19th century, when large engineering excavations (bridges, tunnels) required the work to be done in "caissons" under pressure to keep water from flooding the excavations.

Other ill effects experienced by divers are nitrogen narcosis and oxygen toxicity[?].


The Bends is a 1995 album by British band Radiohead.



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
 
 
  
  Featured Article
1903 in literature

... James to be on the list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century as selected by the editorial board of the American Modern Library. New Books The ...