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Question

What is the application of Henry's law in deep sea diving?

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Solution

as pressure increases, solubility of gases in liquids increases" and "as temperature increases, solubility of gases in liquids decreases" ("Henry's Law"). “The bends most commonly happens when a diver rises to the surface too quickly. The decrease in pressure is too fast and causes bubbles to form.
  • If a diver goes deeper and deeper into the water, pressure builds up in the bloodstream.
  • As the diver inhales highly pressurized air, the bloodstream also absorbs the gaseous particles, including nitrogen.
  • Following Henry's Law; as the pressure increases, the solubility of N2 the diver's bloodstream increases.
  • As a result, nitrogen from the compressed air stays in the bloodstream, until it is able to escape at a lower pressure through exhalation
  • However, since the diver is in a highy-pressurized environment, the N2 can only leave the body when the diver reaches the lower pressures
  • Ideally, this should happen during the diver's gradual rise to the surface
  • Unfortunately, sometimes, the diver ascends too quickly, resulting in the rapid formation of N2bubbles, which causes interference with nerves, blood and lymphatic vessels, and clots

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