Diving Calculators

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Maximum Operating Depth

In underwater diving activities such as saturation diving, technical diving and nitrox diving, the maximum operating depth (MOD) of a breathing gas is the depth below which the partial pressure of oxygen (pO2) of the gas mix exceeds an acceptable limit.

Best Nitrox Mix

The two most common recreational diving nitrox mixes contain 32% and 36% oxygen, which have maximum operating depths (MODs) of 34 metres (112 ft) and 29 metres (95 ft) respectively when limited to a maximum partial pressure of oxygen of 1.4 bar (140 kPa).

Equivalent air depth

The equivalent air depth (EAD) is a way of approximating the decompression requirements of breathing gas mixtures that contain nitrogen and oxygen in different proportions to those in air, known as nitrox.

The equivalent air depth, for a given nitrox mix and depth, is the depth of a dive when breathing air that would have the same partial pressure of nitrogen. So, for example, a gas mix containing 36% oxygen (EAN36) being used at 27 metres (89 ft) has an EAD of 20 metres (66 ft).

Equivalent narcotic depth

The equivalent narcotic depth of a breathing gas mix at a particular depth is calculated by finding the depth of a dive when breathing air that would have the same total partial pressure of nitrogen and oxygen as the breathing gas in question. For example, a trimix containing 20% oxygen, 40% helium, 40% nitrogen (trimix 20/40) being used at 60 metres (200 ft) has an END of 32 metres (105 ft).

Since air is composed of approximately 21% oxygen and 79% nitrogen, the narcotic gases make up 100% of the mix, or equivalently the fraction of the total gases which are narcotic is 1.0. Oxygen is assumed equivalent in narcotic effect to nitrogen for this purpose. In contrast, the oxygen and nitrogen component in a trimix containing, for example, 40% helium accounts for only 60% of the mix, i.e. a fraction of 0.6. In a trimix, the fraction of narcotic gases (oxygen and nitrogen) is equal to 1.0 minus the fraction of non-narcotic gas (helium).

Surface Air Consumption Rate

The compressibility of gasses is also an important consideration for divers due to its affect on how long a diver can stay underwater. Scuba regulators are designed to deliver air to a diver at the same pressure as the surrounding water pressure, at ambient pressure. That means that when a diver fills his lungs at a depth of 33 feet, he is taking in the equivalent amount of air as two breaths at the surface. Obviously then, a tank will only last half as long at 33 feet as it would at the surface. A tank that would last 1 hour at the surface would only last 1/3 as long, or 20 minutes, at a depth of 66 feet, etc.

Altitude diving

Altitude diving is underwater diving using scuba or surface supplied diving equipment where the surface is 300 metres (980 ft) or more above sea level (for example, a mountain lake). Altitude is significant in diving because it affects the decompression requirement for a dive, so that the stop depths and decompression times used for dives at altitude are different from those used for the same dive profile at sea level. The U.S. Navy tables recommend that no alteration be made for dives at altitudes lower than 91 metres (299 ft) and for dives between 91 and 300 metres correction is required for dives deeper than 44 metres (144 ft) of sea water. Most recently manufactured decompression computers can automatically compensate for altitude.

Lifting bag

The volume of the bag determines its lifting capacity: each litre of air inside the bag will lift a weight of 1 kilogram, or each cubic foot will lift about 62 pounds. For example, a 100-litre (3.5 cu ft) bag can lift a 100-kilogram (220 lb) underwater object.

A partially filled bag will accelerate as it ascends because the air in the bag expands as the pressure reduces on the ascent, following Boyles law, increasing the bag’s buoyancy, whereas a full bag will overflow or blow off excess volume and maintain the same volume and buoyancy providing is does not descend. A bag which leaks sufficiently to start sinking will lose volume to compression and become less buoyant in a positive feedback loop until stopped by the bottom.