Recently, the public has been paying increasing attention to the dangers associated with deep-sea exploration. Various catastrophic events in recent years have raised the question of the safety of submersibles and crews working in deep water. In this article, we will look at the two main types of hazards associated with deep-sea exploration: implosion and rapid decompression.
What is implosion?
Implosion is a catastrophic event that occurs when a submersible’s structure fails and it rapidly shrinks inward. At great depths below the ocean’s surface, the pressure becomes so intense that any slightest structural crack can lead to disaster. The structure of the submersible must be incredibly strong to withstand the pressure trying to crush it from all sides.
Implosion occurs so quickly that anyone inside won’t even notice that something has gone wrong, and the entire compartment will explode into itself in a split second. There will likely be no warning as the structure fails, as a small breach or weakening of the hull causes the outer shell to collapse completely.
An example of implosion is the tragic loss of all five crew members aboard the Titan, a bathyscaphe that was headed to the depths of the Titanic. At that depth, the pressure is about 6,000 pounds per square inch, which can be thought of as two SUVs pressing on one square inch of space.
What is a rapid decompression?
Decompression is the process of reducing the pressure inside a submersible. A high pressure is maintained inside the submersible to create a pressure differential between the inside and outside of the submersible. Thus, it must be sealed at all times to prevent rapid depressurization.
Rapid or spontaneous decompression occurs when a breach in the structure causes pressure to be lost inside the submersible almost instantaneously. Even a small hole can cause compressed air to rush outward to equalize the pressure differential, taking any contents inside with it.
How do you avoid implosion and rapid decompression?
To avoid implosion and rapid decompression, submersibles must be robust and reliable. The structure must be designed to withstand pressure at great depths. In addition, the crew must be trained and equipped to prevent and manage the risks.
Despite all precautions, risk always exists in deep sea research. Therefore, safety must be a priority for everyone working on submersibles.
Deep sea exploration represents great potential for scientific discovery and expanding our understanding of the world below the surface of the ocean. However, these explorations also involve great risks and hazards associated with implosion and rapid decompression. To prevent disasters, underwater vehicles must be safe and secure, and the crew must be trained in risk management.