Pressure Regulators Allow Scuba Divers to Safely Inhale
I have a friend who did a lot of scuba diving in high school. I forget the name of the program he was involved in, but it could be described as the Boy Scouts of the sea; except both boys and girls could participate. This youth club went embarked on “missions” in the Great Lakes on specialized ships for days at a time to do some scuba diving. I still remember him telling me stories of exploring ship wrecks and acting like a navy sailor. In order to be apart of this youth club, my friend had to purchase his own diving equipment. That can get pretty expensive, but at least he got some good use out of it.
Most people consider the air tank is the most important piece to a diver’s equipment. However, I’d argue an air tank is useless without pressure regulators. If you breathe into an air tank directly your lungs would be severely damaged, because of the high-pressure of air inside. Part of the regulators job is to reduce the pressure in the tank from 3000 psi to about 140 psi. That is a lot of pressure to convert in order for the air to be safely inhaled.
There are two stages of Regulator’s system operations. When a diver inhales into the regulator, often called an octopus, the pressure inside the regulator is lowered below ambient water pressure. This pushes the air inward which will open a valve connecting the high-pressure chamber with the intermediate pressure chamber. The air flows through the first chamber into the intermediate chamber, equalizing the pressure inside the intermediate pressure chamber to ambient water pressure. The valve will then finish the process by closing. This whole cycle repeats every time a diver inhales.