What Is Nitrox Diving?

What Is Nitrox Diving?
Recreational divers looking for more bottom time can become certified in nitrox diving. Instead of the usual mixture of compressed air, nitrox provides an artificial mixture with additional benefits---and additional risks.

Identification

Air tanks used for recreational diving contain 21 percent oxygen and 79 percent nitrogen, and are essentially compressed air from the atmosphere. Nitrox mixtures are typically 32 to 36 percent oxygen.

Effects

Nitrox's lower nitrogen content means that your body does not absorb as much nitrogen, limiting the risks of decompression illness, also known as "the bends."

Benefits

Nitrox decreases decompression stops and shortens off-gas time, meaning that you can dive a second time sooner without health risks.

Warning

Although nitrox decreases the chance of decompression illness, the higher oxygen levels make oxygen toxicity a concern.

Potential

Nitrox is particularly useful for scientists performing underwater research. Technical divers may use mixtures containing 50 to 80 percent oxygen.

Article Written By Kelly Aspen

Kelly Aspen's writing focuses on natural places, cultural sites and wildlife. She has more than 10 years of experience as an editor and writer for various magazines, books and websites.

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