Diving physics

Diving Physics explains the effects that divers and their equipment are subject to underwater.

Laws of physics with particular reference to diving

The main laws of physics that describe the physics of the underwater diver and of diving equipment are:

This mechanism is involved in nitrogen narcosis, oxygen toxicity and decompression sickness.

Physical effects of water for divers

The physical effects of water or the underwater environment are:

The red end of the spectrum of light is absorbed even in shallow water.[11] Divers use artificial light underwater to reveal these absorbed colours. In deeper water no light from the surface penetrates.

Physical phenomena of interest to divers

The physical phenomena found in large bodies of water are:

Where cold, fresh water enters a warmer sea the fresh water may float over the denser saline water, so the temperature rises as the diver descends.
In lakes exposed to geothermal activity, the temperature of the deeper water may be warmer than the surface water. This will usually lead to convection currents.
Water at near-freezing temperatures is less dense than slightly warmer water - maximum density of water is at about 4°C - so when near freezing, water may be slightly warmer at depth than at the surface.
Some dive sites can only be dived safely at slack water when the tidal cycle reverses and the current slows. Strong currents can cause problems for divers. Buoyancy control can be difficult when a strong current meets a vertical surface. Divers consume more breathing gas when swimming against currents. Divers on the surface can be separated from their boat cover by currents.
On the other hand, drift diving is only possible when there is a reasonable current.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Acott, C (1999). "The diving "Law-ers": A brief resume of their lives.". South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society Journal. 29. ISSN 0813-1988. OCLC 16986801. Retrieved 2008-07-07.
  2. Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D. "Practical Buoyancy Control". University of Michigan. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  3. "Amonton's Law". Purdue University. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
  4. "Henry's Law". Online Medical Dictionary. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  5. "Snell's Law". scienceworld.wolfram. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  6. "Pressure". Oracle ThinkQuest. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  7. "Density and the Diver". Diving with Deep-Six. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  8. "Thermal Conductivity of some common Materials". The Engineering Toolbax. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  9. Nuckols ML, Giblo J, Wood-Putnam JL (September 15–18, 2008). "Thermal Characteristics of Diving Garments When Using Argon as a Suit Inflation Gas.". Proceedings of the Oceans 08 MTS/IEEE Quebec, Canada Meeting. MTS/IEEE. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  10. Eric Maiken. "Why Argon". Author. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  11. 1 2 Luria SM, Kinney JA (March 1970). "Underwater vision". Science. 167 (3924): 1454–61. doi:10.1126/science.167.3924.1454. PMID 5415277. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
  12. Reproduced from J. Chem. Edu., 1993, 70(8), 612. "Why is Water Blue". Dartmoth College. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  13. "Compressibility and Ideal Gas Approximations". UNC-Chapel Hill. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  14. Dougherty, R.L., Franzini, J.B. (1977)Fluid Mechanics with Engineering Applications, 7th ed., pp 539-541, McGraw-Hill, Kogakusha. ISBN 0-07-085144-1
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