Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is an activity enjoyed by people all over the world. Scientists use it to study underwater life, police use it to train in case of emergencies, and many others do it just for fun. What many people don't know, though, is that scuba diving would be impossible without physics. Pressure, buoyancy, and force are big parts of diving.
Pressure, the weight pushing on something, is a vital part of scuba diving. As a diver sinks deeper into the water, the pressure pushing on the person's lungs pushes harder. This can be very dangerous to a person's safety. While the water is pushing on the outside of the lungs, pressure in the inside of the lungs is pushing out. If this pressure isn't the same as the weight from the water pushing on the lungs, the diver could have breathing problems and possibly die. To equalize these two pressures, modern scuba gear is equipped with a device attached to the air hose called a demand regulator that controls the flow of air getting to the lungs, changing the pressure inside.
Buoyancy, how easily a person sinks or floats, is definitely a huge part of scuba diving. It determines how deep a person stays underwater. To control this, divers wear weights and inflatable neckwear called buoyancy compensators. Depending on how many weights a person is wearing; they sink to a certain depth and stay there. The more weights, the farther down they go. The buoyancy compensator, once inflated, rises the person back up to the surface. The more accessories, such as weights, a person wears, the lighter they feel in water and the easier they sink.
All kinds of forces can be associated with scuba diving. For instance, when a diver kicks his fins to move, he is applying a force on the water behind him. In turn, the water is applying a force back on him, causing him to move. Pressure is a force that pushes on a diver's lungs, air tank, and everything else in the water. Buoyancy is the force that makes a person rise or sink in the water. These are only a few of the many forces that have to do with scuba diving.
Pressure, buoyancy, and many other forces make up the activity of scuba diving and any other activity in life. Without them, divers couldn't breathe or even move underwater. In other words, diving would be totally impossible without them. They truly are important.

Sources of Information

Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia Vol. 24

Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia Vol. 8

World Book Encyclopedia Vol. 5

World Book Encyclopedia Vol. 17


The New Science of Skin and Scuba Diving