Rus Articles Journal

How invented aqualungs? The first diving suits

People - surprisingly restless and curious beings. “And what there, behind turn?“ - travelers gradually, step by step, rounded the globe and surveyed all its corners, even the most uncomfortable for the person.

“And as if to touch that beautiful branch of a coral in - about - it there, under water...“ - and divers jumped overboard boats to bring, process and sell this branch. In the beginning they long and actively inhaled and exhaled air, then jumped with a stone overboard, reached a bottom, were enough what it was possible to reach - and at once emerged, coming back to clean air. At detailed choice what to grab, during a dive time was not.

It on the one hand. And on the other hand... In the novel “20000 leagues under water“ at Jules Verne heroes for hours walked on a bottom in the diving suits supplied with respiratory devices of Rukeyrol - Deneyrouz, improved personally by the captain Nemo... And what was to improve there?

Benoit Rukeyrol, the French mining engineer, in 1866 invented and patented the device regulating air supply from a surface for the miners who are in strongly gas-polluted atmosphere. This device was part of a special suit for descent in gas-polluted mines for the purpose of carrying out rescue operations there.

The lieutenant of the French fleet August Deneyrouz learned about the invention and suggested to improve it for work under water. The device contained the membrane mechanism lowering pressure to necessary - depending on water pressure force at a depth.

Rukeylol`s device - Deneyrouz was an ancestor of an aqualung and possessed a heap of shortcomings from which the actual lack of autonomy was the main thing. The membrane mechanism of regulation of pressure of the air arriving to the diver did not allow to work with compressed air pressure of more than 10-12 atmospheres. Besides the equipment of that time did not allow to compress rather strongly air, therefore real autonomy in the device there were only several minutes.

All other time of walk under water the diver breathed the air given on a hose from a surface. Also it was necessary to have Jules Verne`s imagination and his belief in reason of the person that from this “ugly duckling“ to make hands of the captain Nemo almost future aqualung.

Let`s try to understand - what, actually, a problem at the diver? Made a tube longer - and walk on a bottom, breathing air from a surface! The trouble is that, say, at a depth of 10 m pressure in comparison with atmospheric doubles. And if to try, having plunged even on meter, to make a breath through a respiratory tube in meter length, then the person will feel that pressure of water does not allow to make a breath.

The matter is that one atmosphere corresponds to pressure about 1 kg/cm 2 . The area of a thorax of the person makes about 600 cm 2 . It means that at immersion of all on meter in attempt to breathe usual atmospheric air it is necessary to overcome counteraction of pressure of water approximately in 60 kilograms. And what to try to breathe atmospheric air if to plunge even more deeply?

In the XIX and first half of the 20th century for underwater works diving suits were widely used. Englishman Charles Anthony Dean in 1823 patented “we send for firefighters“. When in 5 years, in 1828, Charles and his brother John united a helmet and a waterproof underwater suit for the diver - the first diving suit, or a space suit appeared.

A metal tight helmet, windows from thick strong glass, a hose on which from a surface air moves - and the valve, pressing on which, the diver pits excess pressure. Stood gaping to pit air - the inflated suit will throw out on a surface. If you work in the port water area at small depth, then it is not terrible. And here if fell too deeply, then it is possible to ache with a lacunar illness that is very dangerous.

Henry Flyuss in 1878 invented the submersible with the closed scheme of breath (it was not the first - but higher reliability made it rather safe), the using pure oxygen (rebrizer). Soon after the beginning of use of the device it became known that the pure oxygen inhaled under pressure at a depth more than 20 m becomes toxic, and time of its inhalation has to be limited. That is, it seems, - it is also possible to fall under water, but for a while. If there is a wish to live.

From the very beginning of attempts to create the device under water it became clear for breath that air should be compressed. To squeeze very strongly. And then to construct the device allowing to lower pressure precisely up to that pressure which corresponds to depth at which there is a diver.

The first membrane mechanism was constructed by Rukeyrol. And the first “the pulmonary device“, aqualung heart, was constructed. - I. Cousteau and E. Gagnan. His cunning was in a combination of the regulator similar to a reducer of the device of Rukeyrol, and the second reducer reducing pressure from 200-300 atmospheres in a cylinder to about 10 arriving on a membrane reducer.

And with approach of an era of aqualungs at storm of depths divers had new problems. About it is in the following article.