Haldane Develops Stage Decompression for Deep-Sea Divers (Great Events from History II: Science and Technology Series)
Article abstract: Haldane developed a method for deep-sea divers to ascend to the surface without suffering decompression sickness.
Summary of Event
It has long been known that individuals who have been subjected to high atmospheric pressure cannot be returned rapidly to normal pressure without risking painful symptoms. During the mid-1840’s, in coal mines pressurized to keep out water, the miners frequently suffered muscle pains upon ascending to the surface. These symptoms were first studied in 1854, when it was noted further that a return to compressed air alleviated the pain.
In 1878, the French physiologist Paul Bert wrote a landmark book called La Pression barométrique (Barometric Pressure, 1943), in which he presented evidence that the so-called decompression sickness resulted from the formation of nitrogen gas bubbles, which blocked the circulation.
Deep-sea diving had been plagued by decompression sickness (also known as compressed air disease, or “the bends,” because of the slightly bent, limping posture of its sufferers) since individual diving attire had been developed in the early 1800’s. By the beginning of the twentieth century, there was still no safe method for retrieving a person from deep dives.
England’s Royal Navy used divers in its routine operations. Intent on finding a way to spare these men the risks of pain, paralysis, or even...
(The entire section is 2061 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!