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How scuba tank work?

A scuba tank is a high pressure gas cylinder that is used to store the air or gas needed by a diver under water. It is one of the most important components of the scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) kit. Divers who have an understanding of how this tank works will be able to use it properly, maintain it well, enjoy a longer service life, and a more productive diving experience. A scuba tank has a few important parts that work together to deliver the air needed by the diver.Here is a brief explanation of how scuba tanks work.

Components of the Scuba Tank:

Pressure Vessel
This is a seamless cylinder made of steel or aluminum. It is used to store compressed gas, nitrox or air at a very high pressure of about 3000 psi. Before the tank is used underwater, the pressure vessel is filled with gas through a special valve. Typically, many divers use the cylinder that contains 80 cubic feet which is equivalent to about 2300 liters of gas.

Cylinder Valve
This valve, also known as the pillar valve, connects the pressure cylinder to the first stage diving regulator. A major function of this valve is to regulate the flow of air from this cylinder and form an air tight connection with the regulator. An O-ring is used to provide a seal between the valve and regulator. Some valves are also fitted with a burst disc which acts like a fuse to protect the pressure vessel from being overpressurized.

In addition to the basic parts of the scuba tank, other components may also be used to enhance the work of the tank and make it more convenient to use.

* Cylinder handle: A handle could be attached to the neck of the cylinder to make it easier to carry around, especially when taking it to or from a dive shop for filling.

* Cylinder net: This net has a tubular shape and it is used to cover the cylinder's outer body. It protects the paint, or outer finish from scratching. The cylinder net also helps to reduce corrosion by improving the drainage between the cylinder surface and its boot.

* Cylinder boot: The boot is made of hard plastic or rubber and it protects the base of the cylinder from dents and scratches. In addition, it helps the cylinder to stay upright on the base.

Other accessories such as cylinder manifolds and bands are used to connect two cylinders together. The manifold allows the regulator to be connected in one place so that air from any of the two cylinders can flow into it. The band is used to hold two diving cylinders together so that they can be used together by one diver or for easy transportation.

Open and Closed Circuit Diving
Scuba tanks may be used in an open circuit breathing system. In this case, the gas used up the diver is lost and it is not recycled. Consequently, if the cylinder or regulator fails, the diver will end up in an emergency or life-threatening situation. Hence, there will be need for another backup cylinder or a fellow diver may need to provide gas from another cylinder.

On the other hand, in a closed circuit system, some of the oxygen exhaled by the diver is recycled and passed back into a re-breather. In most cases, this type of system requires the use of two cylinders. For diving below 30 feet, a closed circuit is usually recommended for greater safety.

A scuba tank makes it possible for a diver to breathe properly in spite of the harsh conditions under water. This tank should always be properly cleaned, stored and maintained. It should also be thoroughly inspected periodically to ensure that it functions effectively during diving.


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