It seems that good old compressed air will soon be obsolete. One thing at least is clear: the competition never sleeps. Nitrox, trimix, oxygen - we've heard it all before, but what exactly is in the bottles, and when exactly do you use what? Our content partner underwater has compiled an overview of the different gas mixtures and their use in diving.
Composition of Nitrox Nitrox consists of the same components as compressed air (simplified: Nitrogen + Oxygen). However, the proportion of nitrogen is reduced and that of oxygen is increased. The indication on a Nitrox bottle then corresponds to the oxygen content: Nitrox 32 thus contains 32 percent oxygen, instead of 21 like compressed air. The most common mixtures are Nitrox 32 and 36.
The advantage of Nitrox: The lower nitrogen content in the mixture decreases both decompression and depth intoxication hazards during dives, but does not completely eliminate them. For this reason, many associations and dive centers promote diving with nitrox with a dive computer setting similar to conventional compressed air - a method that puts divers completely on the safe side.
The catch with Nitrox: Above a certain oxygen partial pressure, i.e. below a certain depth, oxygen also becomes toxic. The higher the oxygen content of a gas mixture, the shallower its maximum depth. Nitrox is therefore anything but a deep diving gas - but in extreme descents it is used in the upper ranges to keep the "nitrogen debt" as low as possible from the start. It is also used as a deco gas, which it can significantly reduce "penalty times" compared to compressed air.
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