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SCUBA-L  September 1999, Week 1

SCUBA-L September 1999, Week 1

Subject:

Re: Mixed drinks (Nitrox and Air)

From:

Art Greenberg <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scuba diving discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 1 Sep 1999 08:17:02 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (58 lines)

On Wed, 1 Sep 1999, Lee Bell wrote:
 
> Like several posters, I was taught that tanks were to be O2 cleaned and
> restricted to nitrox use because of they may (are at the shop that taught
> me) exposed to pure oxygen during the fill phase and that regulators need
> not be cleaned for up to 40% O2.
 
Cylinders and valves should be cleaned *and filled only with clean gas* if
you ever expect to introduce pure oxygen at high pressure into them. There
is no reason to limit a clean cylinder to nitrox use - EAN21 is fine, as
long as the source meets the appropriate standards for hydrocarbon
content. Even a few fills of Grade E (the minimum CGA grade for SCUBA
applications) in a season would be ok, as that's "pretty clean" - it would
take a number of borderline Grade E fills to add enough hydrocarbon to
cause concern.
 
> The O2 safety issues have been discussed here, but I think I've been told
> that there is more than just O2 safety involved. As I recall, some
> materials used in older regulators and perhaps even in new ones deteriorate
> in a high O2 environment.
 
Some O-ring and diaphragm materials will break down over time in the
presence of high pressure oxygen. This is a cumulative effect. It has not
been an issue in my diving over the last three seasons. My "standard"
regulators have showed no sign of problems this season after 120 or so
hours of exposure to EAN28.
 
There are two components to preparing equipment for oxygen service.
Cleaning is one, use of proper lubricants and gasket and seal materials is
the other. Cleaning alone is insufficient, as is just installing Viton
o-rings.
 
> What I recall being told was that any regulator would last the year
> between recommended servicing but that a regulator used for nitrox
> should be O2 cleaned when serviced. It was implied, but not
> specifically stated, that once cleaned of incompatable materials, it
> could be safely used for mixes up to 40.%. Perhaps I'm remembering
> funny, but perhaps not.
 
Depends on who taught you, and which agency's curriculum they taught.
ANDI promotes a very conservative standard, most of the rest are less
anal.
 
The majority opinion seems to be that *no* special cleaning or materials
are required for mixes up to and including 40% oxygen content.
 
> Since I have no plans to dive percentages greater than 40% in the near
> future, my short term plan is to have my regulators O2 cleaned at their next
> service interval and use them for whatever diving I happen to be doing.
 
This will certainly do no harm, but may be a waste of money. If you're
going to be this conservative, you should then *not* use your regulators
with standard air.
 
--
Art Greenberg
[log in to unmask]

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