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Difference Between Implosion And Decompression
What is implosion and how is it different to decompression? I’m sure these questions must be crossing your mind after the latest tragedy that hit the news headlines.
As a result of recent news, deep-sea exploration has been thrust into the spotlight for its potential dangers.
As a result, decompression and implosion are misunderstood, as well as how they may occur. So, let’s explore both and what makes them different.
Submersible Implosion – What Is It?
The weight of the water above exerts pressure on things below the ocean’s surface at great depths.
Even though we don’t feel it but we all experience pressure on a daily basis due to the Earth’s atmosphere exerting a standard pressure on our bodies.
The pressure in the ocean gets stronger as you go deeper, so our bodies can no longer withstand it, and we need a pressurised submersible to explore deeper.
A submersible’s structure must be extremely strong in order to accomplish this. It is important that the reinforced walls are strong enough to resist the pressure that is attempting to crush the submersible from all sides as you go deeper.
Officials announced that debris recovered from the Titan submersible indicated a catastrophic implosion event following the loss of all five travel enthusiasts.
At the depth of the Titanic where they were heading, the pressure is about 6,000 psi (equivalent to a force of 6,000 pounds on every square inch).
This can be likened to the weight of two SUVs bearing down on just one square inch of space. A small crack in the structure could be catastrophic at this depth.
A structural failure can cause an implosion, which is when a submersible rapidly compresses inwards.
This happens so fast that anyone inside wouldn’t realise something had gone wrong. The compartment implodes into itself within a fraction of a second.
If the hull of the structure weakens or breaches even slightly, the outer shell will be completely destroyed without any warning.
Rapid Decompression- What Is It?
While decompression events have a similar cause, their outcomes can vary. Submersibles are kept highly pressurized inside, which creates a difference in pressure between the interior and exterior.
Because of this, the submersible must remain tightly sealed at all times to prevent a sudden drop in pressure.
Rapid or spontaneous decompression happens when there is a sudden loss of pressure inside the submersible due to a breach in the structure.
The pressurized air can rush outwards through a small hole, causing the pressure to become equalized and potentially carrying any contents with it.
Rapid decompression is an event that is nearly the opposite of implosion. When a submersible experiences implosion, pressure increases and causes it to collapse inward. In contrast, rapid decompression involves a sudden drop in pressure that forces the contents outward.
There have been instances of this happening in the history of deep-sea diving, the most disastrous of which was the Byford Dolphin diving accident.
The lack of proper safety equipment led to a sudden decrease in pressure inside the compartment, causing the blood of three divers to boil rapidly and resulting in their immediate death.
Another worker lost their life due to the movement of the diving bell, and a fourth diver was ejected through a small opening and faced an even worse fate.
The incidents involving the Titan and the Byford Dolphin serve as somber reminders of how hazardous high-pressure environments can be and how small the margin for safety is in preventing disasters.
We can only hope that adequate safety regulations can be implemented to avoid similar incidents in the future.
The accuracy of all “explainer” articles is verified by fact checkers before they are published. However, the text, images, and links may be modified, deleted, or added in the future to ensure that the information remains up-to-date.
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