## Why Is Helium Used in Scuba Diving?

Helium is a non-toxic, colorless, odorless, and non-flammable gas that is used in a variety of applications, including scuba diving. Helium is used in scuba diving because it is less soluble in blood than nitrogen, which is the main component of air. This means that helium does not cause the same level of decompression sickness, or “the bends,” as nitrogen does.

### Decompression Sickness

Decompression sickness is a condition that can occur when a diver ascends too quickly from a dive. As a diver ascends, the pressure on their body decreases, which causes the nitrogen that is dissolved in their blood to come out of solution and form bubbles. These bubbles can block blood vessels and cause a variety of symptoms, including pain, paralysis, and even death.

Helium is less soluble in blood than nitrogen, so it does not cause the same level of decompression sickness as nitrogen does. This makes helium a safer gas to use for diving at depths greater than 100 feet.

### Helium Mixtures

Helium is not typically used pure for scuba diving. Instead, it is mixed with other gases, such as oxygen and nitrogen. The most common helium mixture used for scuba diving is called trimix. Trimix is a mixture of helium, oxygen, and nitrogen that is customized to the depth and duration of the dive.

### Advantages of Helium

There are a number of advantages to using helium for scuba diving, including:

Reduced decompression sickness risk: Helium is less soluble in blood than nitrogen, so it does not cause the same level of decompression sickness as nitrogen does.
Faster decompression: Helium can help divers to decompress more quickly, which can reduce the risk of decompression sickness.
Improved performance: Helium can help divers to improve their performance by reducing the amount of work that they need to do to breathe.
Reduced oxygen toxicity: Helium can help to reduce the risk of oxygen toxicity, which can occur when divers breathe pure oxygen at high pressures.

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### Disadvantages of Helium

There are also some disadvantages to using helium for scuba diving, including:

Cost: Helium is a more expensive gas than air or nitrogen, so it can be more expensive to fill tanks with helium.
Availability: Helium is not as widely available as air or nitrogen, so it can be difficult to find in some areas.
Training: Divers who want to use helium must receive specialized training.

### Conclusion

Helium is a safe and effective gas to use for scuba diving. It can help to reduce the risk of decompression sickness, improve diver performance, and reduce the risk of oxygen toxicity. However, helium is also more expensive and less widely available than air or nitrogen. Divers who are considering using helium for scuba diving should weigh the advantages and disadvantages before making a decision.

### Additional Resources

[Helium and Scuba Diving](https://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/articles/Helium-and-Scuba-Diving)
[Trimix Diving](https://www.tdisdi.com/trimix-diving)
[Helium Scuba Diving](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3s9SBY2OdQ)

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