What is Nitrox??
What is Nitrox?
Nitrox is any combination of Nitrogen and Oxygen. You have been breathing Nitrox since the day you were born!
The air that we breath is comprised of approximately 21% Oxygen and 79% Nitrogen. Nitrox mixtures with
percentages of Oxygen greater than 21% are called Enriched Air Nirtox (EANx).
There are two common standard EANx mixtures, EAN 32 (32% Oxygen / 68% Nitrogen) EAN 36 (36% Oxygen and 64% Nitrogen).
Who uses EANx?
EANx was used as early as 1912, and has been used extensively for over 30 years by commercial organisations and the military. It has also
been used in the medical field as a therapy gas.
Advanced level divers have been taking advantage
of EANx for Cave diving, Wreck diving, marine harvest, marine research, and many other applications.
More recently, EANx has been recognised by national and international SCUBA
diving certification agencies as an alternate breathing gas for recreational diving.
Isn't it for deep diving?
Unfortunately, misinformation abounds concerning the use and application of EANx.
EANx is not used for deep diving, however it has a place as a decompression gas
from deep air/trimix/heliox dives. It is actually ideal for depths between 10 and 50 metres.
What about Oxygen toxicity?
As a certified air diver, you were taught how to monitor your Nitrogen intake by using a set of
dive tables. The deeper the depth, the shorter the amount of allowable no-decompression
bottom time available due to Nitrogen loading. The same principle applies
to Oxygen at greater depths. The greater the depth, the shorter the bottom time.
Oxygen toxicity (on air or nitrox) usually comes into play deeper than at standard
recreational depths. EANx dive tables provide a reliable, safe, and easy way to dive between
10 and 50m, while taking advantage of the EANx benefits.
What are the benefits of EANx?
EANx diving has many advantages over air diving. Some of the benefits are:
- EANx, when used with standard air dive tables or
computers, provides a tremendous safety factor. In fact, when utilised in this
fashion, the actual Nitrogen accumulation is that for a 3 to 6m shallower
dive. This application of EANx is actually ideal for divers who wish to be
more conservative, those indivduals who are not as young as they once were, or
those who are not in good physical fitness.
- A significant increase in bottom time
- A reduction in Nitrogen Narcosis.
- A reduction of decompression time if the
no-decompression limits are exceeded.
- Reduced fatigue after the dive (declared by many EANx divers).
Concerning treatment of decompression sickness and EANx use: All competent chamber facilities
will treat air and EANx DCS. If a chamber facility and/or operator cannot, be wary, as they are
not competently educated in recompression therapy.
I keep reading/hearing that Nitrox (EANx) is dangerous - is this true?
Unfortunately, the opponents of EANx usually lack the certification, experience and complete understanding/knowledge
therein to adequately write and report on EANx recreational use. Accidents have not occurred
with EANx among properly trained EANx divers.
Are there special equipment requirements for EANx?
Your standard SCUBA gear can be used with EANx with percentages of Oxygen up to
40%. All EANx cylinders and other SCUBA exposed to more than 40% Oxygen must
be professionally cleaned. Cylinders for EANx use are colour coded and dedicated.
All cylinders used for Partial Pressure blending must be both oxygen clean and equipped
with compatible components. See your local Dive Centre for information.
Where can I get EANx?
EANx is available at many different locations throughout Ireland, the U.S., Europe,
Aisa, Canada, the Caribbean and Austrailaisa.
Do I have to be certified to use EANx?
YES! Instructors and Dive Centres offer many certification courses with Enriched Air Diver
to start your certification. You can continue on with Advanced EANx Diver, Technical EANx Diver, EANx Overhead Environment Diver,
Deep Air Diver, Advanced Deep Air Diver, Trimix Diver, Rebreather Diver and many more!
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