Nitrox is a form of enriched air diving which differs from traditional air mixes, namely in its higher oxygen concentration and reduced nitrogen content. This creates a number of benefits, such as reducing the level of inert gases absorbed by the body and reducing the risk of decompression sickness when following appropriate dive tables. The Nitrox diving process begins with blending gases to create a desired mixture. For recreational divers, this is most often accomplished using two tanks, one filled with air, and another filled with pure oxygen. Depending on the volume of each tank, gas can be mixed to achieve any desired blend of nitrogen and oxygen. Alternatively, pre-mixed gases are now commonly available. Once a gas has been mixed, it must be verified for safe use by testing for the levels of impurities such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. The gas must then be labeled for identification against traditional air sources
Amount of oxygen in Nitrox
The amount of oxygen present in nitrox is determined by its percentage—the higher the percentage, the more oxygen there will be; this is why it’s referred to as “enriched.” These numbers are easy to remember:
- 21% = 100% O2 concentration (aka EAN32)
- 36% = 101% O2 concentration (aka EAN36)
Concentration and reduced nitrogen content.
Nitrox is a blend of oxygen and nitrogen. It is not a new type of gas, but rather a mixture of the two gases that make up air. The main advantage to nitrox diving is its reduced nitrogen content. Nitrogen is an inert gas that does not absorb into the body or become metabolized. However, as you dive deeper and longer, this inert gas will accumulate in your tissues causing narcosis (“nitrogen narcosis”) which can be very dangerous! This accumulated inert gas will be released from your body when you ascend back to the surface, but if you go up too quickly it may cause decompression sickness (DCS). Because nitrox has a higher concentration of oxygen than air does, it allows for longer bottom times before experiencing DCS symptoms—the result being less time spent coming up or down at each depth level during your dive.
Nitrox diving is a type of recreational scuba diving that uses an oxygen-rich gas mixture (a mixture with a higher percentage of oxygen than air) instead of normal air. This creates a number of benefits, such as reducing the risk of decompression sickness and nitrogen absorption and decreasing the maximum depth limit for dives. This dive profile can be done at many different depths, depending on how much Nitrox you use in your tank and how deep you’re planning on going.
Reducing the risk of decompression sickness
Nitrox is a gas mixture that contains more than 21% oxygen, which reduces the amount of inert gases absorbed by the body and reducing the risk of decompression sickness when following appropriate dive tables.
The Nitrox diving process
It uses a gas mixture containing nitrogen and oxygen, usually with 22% or 36% oxygen. Nitrox mixtures are used by recreational scuba divers, technical rescue teams (firefighters and paramedics), military combat divers, commercial fishermen and underwater photographers. This article will explain the process of nitrox blending.
The first step in creating your own blend is to find out what percentage you need to achieve and then calculate how much of each component you need to mix it at that level. For example, if you want to make your own 80/20 O2/N2O2 blend then you’ll need:
80 x 2 = 160 (liters) total volume for 80/20 O₂ & N₂O₂
160 / 22 = 7.7 Total Volume Liters For Gas Blending
For recreational divers
For recreational divers, this is most often accomplished using two tanks, one filled with air and another filled with pure oxygen. The air and oxygen must be mixed in proper proportions to achieve the desired percentage of oxygen in the gas mixture. This can be done manually by adding small amounts of each gas to a regulator’s first stage until the desired concentration is reached. Alternatively, many dive computers will do this automatically based on pre-set values stored within their internal firmware.
The terms “Nitrox,” “Trimix” and even “Heli-Mix” are often used interchangeably when referencing enriched air mixtures that have been mixed from nitrox mixes at depth (Nitrox) or from heliox mixes on the surface (Trimix). These are slightly different methods for achieving higher levels of oxygen than those found naturally in air; however they all use essentially the same method: adding an appropriate amount of helium or nitrogen gas into an already existing breathable mix such as EAN32 or EAN36 so that it becomes enriched with more oxygen than regular atmospheric pressure would allow
Depending on the volume of each tank, gas can be mixed to achieve any desired blend of nitrogen and oxygen. Alternatively, pre-mixed gases are now commonly available.
Ways to use blend nitrox
There are several ways to blend nitrox. You can use a gas blender, or you can purchase pre-mixed gases and have them delivered to your dive shop. In either case, blending is not difficult if you follow some basic rules.
For most recreational divers, using a separate pair of tanks for each gas (one with nitrox and one with air) is the easiest method for achieving the desired amount of oxygen in your breathing mix. However, it does require extra equipment as well as training on how to use it safely.
The other option is to use a tank that is specifically designed for blending two gases together into one single tank for your breathing mixture—a so-called “blend” tank. These are available in three different sizes: 12 L/min (2 US gal/min), 30 L/min (5 US gal/min), and 36 L/min (6 US gal/min). The larger volumes allow higher percentages of oxygen without excessive amounts of helium being added; however they also require more time between ascents due to greater weight during decompression stops after long dives at depth where inert gas narcosis may be an issue if too much helium is used during deep dives which then requires extra time spent decompressing after surfacing from them before going back down again
Once a gas has been mixed, it must be verified for safe use by testing for the levels of impurities such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. The gas must then be labeled for identification against traditional air sources.
Nitrox diving is a popular choice for recreational divers because it allows them to extend their bottom times at a given depth. The process of breathing nitrox requires the right equipment and training, but it isn’t difficult once you learn how to use it properly.
To begin, you must either use traditional air or blend your own gas mixture according to the guidelines given by NAUI. When blending your own mixture, the first step is testing for purity in order to ensure that there are no impurities such as carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide present in your mix. This can be done using an analyzer that measures oxygen partial pressure (Pc02) and oxygen percentage (Po2). Once tested and verified for purity with no contaminants, the gas must then be labeled for identification against traditional air sources so that divers know which tanks are filled with nitrox and which ones contain regular compressed air.*
It is important when diving with nitrox not only to be aware of this extra step when preparing dives but also that each dive should be verified before going under water.*
When properly serviced and verified
Nitrox is a blend of oxygen and nitrogen, and is used to extend the time you can safely spend underwater. The amount of oxygen in the mix varies depending on what your dive plan requires: a 32% nitrox mix will typically permit dives up to twice as long as air; an enriched air nitrox (EANx) mixture has roughly 40% more oxygen than normal air. This extra oxygen means that less nitrogen needs to be decompressed from your body at the end of a dive, reducing the risk of decompression sickness.
If properly serviced and verified for purity, nitrox can be safely used in place of traditional air mixes for diving. You should always consult with your instructor before switching over to use nitrox on any given dive trip and check if there are any requirements specific to where or how you’ll be diving.
Nitrox can improve safety
It is a safe form of diving that can be used to improve the safety of recreational deep sea divers and technical divers who frequently require long surface interval periods between dives. Nitrox is a breathable gas mixture containing oxygen, nitrogen or a combination of these gases. These mixes are used to extend the amount of time you spend underwater by reducing the risk associated with oxygen toxicity, which occurs when there’s too much oxygen in your system at once.
Nitrox can be useful for both recreational and technical divers who frequently dive during the day without having adequate time for decompression stops at depth before their next dive. Nitrox will allow them to control how much nitrogen builds up in their bodies by using mixtures with less oxygen than normal air does (a mix containing 21% oxygen instead of 21% would reduce your risk).
Nitrox diving is a great way to improve your diving experience and increase your safety as a diver. If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating world, we encourage you to contact us today so that we can help get you started!