Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Avon Rubber Diving Aggressively Into Rebreather Market Essay

Rebreathers, the subject of this article, are an exciting new technology. The background and chemistry of rebreathers is quite interesting in that they were largely improved upon and regularly used by a famous American cave diver, Bill Stone, who wanted to more deeply explore underwater cave passages. He demonstrated his rebreather in 1987 to the diving community. They allow a human to breathe for long periods of time either underwater or in a different atmosphere. Through a carefully controlled exothermic reaction in one partition of the device, they essentially â€Å"scrub† exhaled carbon dioxide in order to allow it to be â€Å"rebreathed† in a closed system, hence the name of the equipment (Tabor, 2010). This article, which was just published on June 18th of this year, cites an acquisition and expansion by a company, Avon Rubber P. L. C. , in order to manufacture rebreathing devices. The fact that this article exists highlights the fact that they are fast becoming more widely used and sought-after. One main focal point of the article is the fact that the US Navy has commissioned Avon Rubber for a rebreather device worth an initial estimated $30 million to the company. The article mentions their future uses in diving and military applications, and it’s of note that the company is expanding into several countries to further develop â€Å"respiratory protection system technology† (McNulty, 2013). This article leads this reviewer to think about the exciting future possibilities in exploration that the advancement of rebreather technology will lead to. However, the questions raised, in this reviewer’s eyes, largely have to do with the safety aspects of rebreathers and the social issues surrounding their military use. The knowledge that our military is spending huge sums on rebreathers leads to the questioning of the need for such technology in a military fashion (instead of in an exploratory manner by NASA, for example). The risk factors involved are also rather high, especially as the technology becomes more widely available. An inherent problem with rebreathers is the swift death that can occur from breathing in carbon dioxide that has not been sufficiently â€Å"scrubbed†. As stated in the book Blind Descent, the user has no warning that the air they are breathing is tainted with insufficiently scrubbed CO2. Hopefully, this will be further perfected in advanced versions. Even though there will always be risks involved in their use, the very fact that we have been able to manipulate the chemistry of respiration in such a way is exciting in terms of human scientific advancement.

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