Answer to Question #161438 in General Chemistry for Hannah H

Question #161438
  1. Dry air is mixture composed of 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen. Both these gases can have negative impacts on a SCUBA diver at high pressure. For every 10 meters of a dive, the pressure increases by 1 atm.  Oxygen becomes toxic when its partial pressure is above 1.6 atm. If a diver leaves the boat at sea level (1 atm) with a tank at 0.21 atm of oxygen and dives to 40 m where the pressure is 4 atm, what is the partial pressure of the oxygen and is this toxic to the diver? If not, how deep can the diver go before the oxygen becomes toxic?
Expert's answer

At 1 atm of total pressure for air, oxygen would have a partial pressure of 0.21 atm. Therefore, the total pressure of the air would be 7.6 atm (1.6/0.21 atm) for the partial pressure of oxygen to be at 1.6 atm or greater. Remember that for each 10 m of depth the pressure increases by 1 atm, but the pressure at the surface is 1 atm, so the partial pressure of oxygen in air would be 1.6 atm at 66 m (216 ft).

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