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Thread: Argon, the Superior Dry Suit Inflation Gas? by Dr. Claudia Sotis

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    Argon, the Superior Dry Suit Inflation Gas? by Dr. Claudia Sotis

    Staying warm during the dive is not just a matter of comfort. As we have learned from the 2007 NEDU study, it also affects our decompression and, subsequently, our DCS risk. Supplemental insulation provided by dry and wet suits will shift the Lower Critical Temperature (which is the ambient temperature at which heat production responses are initiated) to lower values and thus, delays the onset of core cooling as water temperature decreases. Diving 'dry' will allow for for much wider manipulation of thermal insulation with the use of differing undergarments that have their own thermal insulation properties.

    It is a common belief that additional insulation can be acquired by choosing the proper gas for dry suit inflation. Over the years there have been lively discussions and a lot of theorizing over what dry suit gas is best. Helium is considered undesirable. Less so because of cost, but more so because of its theorized thermal properties and issues with isobaric counter diffusion. Some strongly believe that Argon is the best gas. It's molecular weight of 39.948 makes it heavy compared to Air (28.966) It is also a denser gas, 1.784 g/l, than Air at 1.225 g/l. These properties have been used to argue for Argon being 'warmer' and thus superior to Air for dry suit inflation...

    Curious about where this is going? Read more HERE
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    Re: Argon, the Superior Dry Suit Inflation Gas? by Dr. Claudia Sotis

    http://archive.rubicon-foundation.or...123456789/7789

    This study produced dramatically different results.

    A 16-20% advantage over can be a big deal, and the 6x purge that's 'required' is in practice achieved during the descent to any significant depth.

    For *some* dives it might not be worth while, its certainly not a myth. On a long exposure, I'm after any advantage I can get. Quality under garment, quality hood, heated vest, and argon all come together.

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    Re: Argon, the Superior Dry Suit Inflation Gas? by Dr. Claudia Sotis

    Over 32 years of diving i have come to see choice of under suit garments is the real practical difference in staying warm.That includes full open cell neoprene to crushed to laminated or shell suits. Argon has made minimal at best improvement and thats only noticeable in very cold waters with purging and inflating multiple times.So we just go with air in the suit bottle.
    Last edited by markdol2; 2nd April 2016 at 00:48.

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    Re: Argon, the Superior Dry Suit Inflation Gas? by Dr. Claudia Sotis

    Quote Originally Posted by AdamG  View Original Post
    http://archive.rubicon-foundation.or...123456789/7789

    This study produced dramatically different results.

    A 16-20% advantage over can be a big deal, and the 6x purge that's 'required' is in practice achieved during the descent to any significant depth.

    For *some* dives it might not be worth while, its certainly not a myth. On a long exposure, I'm after any advantage I can get. Quality under garment, quality hood, heated vest, and argon all come together.
    Hello Adam,

    thank you for sharing this Abstract from Rubicon. I was reading it with interest but unfortunately, it was never published as anything but an abstract (which is too bad). Interesting that they used manikins while the study used humans. Also no mention as to body position has been made. I think that was a very important point made by Risberg and Hope: That in a prone position due to hydrostatic pressure, gas shifts onto the back. That area had some benefit from Argon over Air but none that was statistically significant. Risberg and Hope conducted a blinded study (the subjects did not know if they were in Air or Argon) which included the perception of warmth/cold and actual measurements of skin and core.

    Studies like these are important to differentiate subjective from objective. What one does with it, remains a personal choice.

    Thank you for your contribution.

    Claudia Sotis MD

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    Smile Re: Argon, the Superior Dry Suit Inflation Gas? by Dr. Claudia Sotis

    Claudia, please find the full text here:
    http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a502257.pdf


    Waiting for your thought, if you want

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    Re: Argon, the Superior Dry Suit Inflation Gas? by Dr. Claudia Sotis

    Quote Originally Posted by capelli23  View Original Post
    Claudia, please find the full text here:
    http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a502257.pdf


    Waiting for your thought, if you want

    This is awesome! Thank you - we are in Mexico and traveling today. Will look at it later :)

    C

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    Re: Argon, the Superior Dry Suit Inflation Gas? by Dr. Claudia Sotis

    Again, thank you for sending me the report. It is quite an interesting read. Like with so many experiments that have the same topic of study, there are various differences.

    Here, in the 2008 study by Nuckols, Giblo and Wood-Putnam, they purged the dry suit six times. There was no mention in the 2001 study by Risberg and Hope, whether they did the same or at all. As suggested by Nuckols, Giblo and Wood-Putnam, that might have important implications.

    The other important difference is the manikin’s position during the experiment. From the pictures, it looks like it was kept sitting up. If Risberg and Hope were correct in their assumption that hydrostatic displacement of gas plays a role, then the Nuckols, Giblo and Wood-Putnam study might reflect that in their data, as well, but to a point (i.e. legs had the least benefit from Argon). The outcome data might be a bit different if the mannequin was kept prone.

    The real test would be to have a study that tests both elements:
    1. Purge dry suit at least 6 times with Argon
    2. Keep divers or mannequins in a prone (swimming) position during the experiment
    3. If done with humans, include the subjective perception during the blinded experiment

    So all this leads me to believe that the judges are still out! We have two studies with conflicting results. The main point remains that the type of undergarment one wears appears to make the biggest difference and that active heating is most important in very cold and long exposure dives.

    I will post this summary at the end of my article and change the statement to a question.

    Thanks again and stay warm 

    Claudia Sotis MD

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    Re: Argon, the Superior Dry Suit Inflation Gas? by Dr. Claudia Sotis

    An important difference (among many) between the two studies being discussed is the difference in dry suit and undergarment ensembles. Nuckols and colleagues were studying a trilaminate shell dry suit with undergarments. With this ensemble the majority of the insulation is due to the gas inside the dry suit (lofted in the undergarment). Risberg and Hope were studying a closed-cell neoprene dry suit with a "wooly-bear" undergarment. In this ensemble the neoprene provides a substantial amount of insulation that is unaffected by the suit inflation gas.


    As a point of clarification Risberg and Hope do describe that the divers flushed their suits with inflation gas three times, and in they did at test of the flush procedure (with one diver) where they measured the oxygen fraction inside the suit and found that three flushes with argon dropped the oxygen fraction from 20.9% (air) to zero.


    David Doolette
    Last edited by djd; 4th April 2016 at 18:01.

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    Re: Argon, the Superior Dry Suit Inflation Gas? by Dr. Claudia Sotis

    I have my fourth element Halo 3D, the arctic sock, Xerotherm baselayer, and the Ozone jacket. I feel nice and warm. Tried Argon and certainly didn't feel anything. The heater died the first day. Pretty much I just stick to my undergarment.
    Last edited by RoyJN; 5th April 2016 at 02:25.

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    Re: Argon, the Superior Dry Suit Inflation Gas? by Dr. Claudia Sotis

    As I have posted many times, the only change I noticed with argon is how much lighter it made my wallet feel.

    Quote Originally Posted by dreamdive  View Original Post
    we are in Mexico and traveling today. Will look at it later :)

    C
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dsix36  View Original Post
    Just remember that listening to an idiot such as myself may very well get your arse dead.

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