Equipment classification: B - Breathing Gases. Specialized Mixtures.
Breathing apparatus is specialized gear to ensure a sophont has breathable air in different environments. Ranging from simple filters to remove atmospheric contaminants to full life support systems for highly toxic environments or complete lack of atmosphere.
While the descriptions of these items assume a humaniti-centric view of the universe, with a specific oxygen atmosphere mixture, many of these items are easily adopted to other races with specific atmospheric requirements.
|Powered Artificial Gill|
|Powered Artificial Gill|
Artificial Gills were designed to extract oxygen from water and are complex devices, which allow a virtually unlimited amount of time underwater. Some models have CO2 absorbent chemicals to eliminate bubbles for covert dives.
An air tank included in the mechanism carries a charge of nitrogen or helium, which is mixed with extracted oxygen. Exhaled carbon dioxide is eliminated, with the helium or nitrogen being recirculated. A pulse sensor in the mask adjusts oxygen extraction to match the exertion of the user.
To make sure the gill provides enough oxygen even if the wearer is not moving, additional water must be forced over the gas exchanger. The basic version of the gill uses the wearer's muscle power to pump the water and operate the gas exchange. But in addition to swimming this can be tiring, restricting the gill's use to a few hours. The enhanced version includes a battery pack usable for up to 12 hours. The battery drives water over the gill and run the gas exchange.
The artificial gill functions only in thin, standard, and dense atmospheres. Since the gill also extracts other dissolved gases from the water, it may be dangerous to use the gill on worlds with tainted atmospheres.
A variant of the artificial gill, the Powered Gill is similar in function but quite different in actual design. Using a power pack to provide the high levels of energy required, the powered gill converts water to hydrogen and oxygen; it expels the hydrogen and combining the oxygen with a carried nitrogen supply. The powered gill has all of the same basic limitations as the artificial gill, but it is lighter. Power supply is good for 36 hours of use between recharges. Bubbles (from hydrogen, broken down by the unit) cannot be masked.
The two chief dangers involved in using the artificial gill are anoxia and hypoxia.
Anoxia occurs in some layers of water where oxygen content is too low to allow extraction. This is normally a rare occurrence but should be watched for. Victims of anoxia must be given air within five minutes, or they will probably die.
Hypoxia occurs when a fault in the mechanism delivers an insufficient volume of the mixed gas (nitrogen or helium) to the diver. Shots of pure oxygen have an intoxicating effect and should be treated much like nitrogen narcosis. Hypoxia is based on the reliability of the gill.
At TL–13, a miniaturized refinement of the standard powered gill employs the same principles but is much smaller. It consists of a lightweight, mouthpiece-type breathing device with a small battery and a container of pressurized nitrogen attached to the unit. The unit will not accept helium, and thus it is limited by the threat of nitrogen narcosis to pressures of 3 atmospheres or less. Total operating time is no more than 1 hour.
A Breather is a compact breathing assistance device consisting of a mouth piece and a compact compressed oxygen supply. A more advanced version of the Pocket Scuba. The oxygen supply lasts for 20 minutes. The breather is disposable, not designed to be refilled.
A Filter Mask is a filter set, which allows an individual to breathe a normal density but tainted atmosphere. It uses chemical cartridges specific to a type of tainted atmosphere, and which usually need to be replaced after about ten hours of use at a cost of Cr20 and mass of 0.3 kg.
These masks are also used to filter out airborne military toxins of the same TL as the filter cartridge. The lower TL models are not well designed and interfere with vision and hearing, but higher TL models do not suffer the same problems.
Filter Respirator Combination Mask
|Filter Respirator Combination Mask|
A Filter Respirator Combination Mask is a combination of a filter mask and a respirator which allows breathing of very thin, tainted atmospheres. It has a face mask, a small compressor powered by a belt mounted battery pack good for ten hours. The external air is passed through a cartridge filter first, specific to a type of tainted atmosphere, and which usually need to be replaced after about ten hours of use at a cost of Cr20 and mass of 0.3kg.
Life support pack
|Life support pack|
An emergency portable air-supply apparatus. It provides 2 hours of air fed from a single tank, with a full face mask. Designed to provide a temporary supply of breathable air.
An Oxygen Mask is a face fitting mask, similar to a Respirator, used in environments where the atmosphere is not safe to breathe. Instead of filtering or compressing the outside atmosphere, the Oxygen mask attaches to Oxygen Tank sto supply the breathable air. Unlike an Oxygen Rebreather, the mask isn't designed to be used underwater or much above 1.5 atmospheres of pressure.
A Rebreather is a closed-circuit breathing system that can be used underwater or in non-corrosive, non-insidious atmospheres of thin density or greater. Its battery/chemical cartridge lasts about 12 hours, with replacement cost around Cr20 each.
The standard Oxygen Tank is filled with a two hour supply of oxygen. The tank is 50 cm long and 20 cm in diameter, with a 2 cm long valve stem on one end. Refilling a tank with oxygen costs Cr10. The valve stem connects to the portable life support system or a SCUBA system.
The Pocket Scuba is a SCUBA system designed to provide underwater life support for emergencies. It is a combination of a small air tank with regulator and mouthpiece in a slim package which is strapped to the arm or thigh. It provides 5-minutes worth of resting air support.
Portable Life Support System
|PLSS Type A|
|PLSS Type B|
|PLSS Type C|
All Portable Life Support Systems (PLSS) backpacks are equipped with a frame holding two oxygen tanks, a gas regulator to control gas flow, and a 500 km range space-band radio, in addition to the other equipment. They supply basic life support systems to the users of vacc suits and hostile environment suits.
The PLSS Type A is for short duration use. It is nothing more than two oxygen tanks connected through a regulator into the suit. Exhaust gas is vented directly into the exterior, no attempt is made to recycle it. This pack measures 70cm tall by 45 cm wide by 30 cm thick. The PLSS Type B is for general use of up to 20 hours duration. This pack measures 75 cm tall by 45 cm wide by 30 cm thick. The PLSS Type C is a general use system of up to 40 hours duration. This pack measures 85 cm tall by 45 cm wide by 30 cm thick.
All but the Type A system are equipped with a gas recycler that is capable of stretching the useful duration of oxygen tanks to as much as 8 hours per tank, depending on the user's exertions and the pressurization level of the suit. Each system is equipped with a chest control box that contains the pack's status displays (or telltales) and controls. Packs used with soft suits have straps to hold the pack onto the suit and a one meter umbilical that plugs into the suit. Packs used with hard torso or hard suits plug directly into the back of the suit; there are no straps or umbilicals used. All of the standard vacc suits and hostile environment suits work with any of the PLSS types.
Each pack is equipped with a special mount to enable the wearer to replace his own oxygen tanks without removing the backpack, and provision is made for extra tanks to be strapped onto the pack. Changing a tank takes 2 minutes per tank. Waste is collected into disposable plastic sacs. 
An optional urine reprocessor unit can be installed to extract water from body wastes. The wearer may drink the recovered water by means of a nipple installed inside the helmet. This recycler costs Cr50, masses 1 kg, and is available at TL–7. 
A Respirator is a small compressor and face mask which allows an individual to breathe in thin or very thin atmospheres. It is powered by a belt mounted battery pack good for 10 hours, and a small hand cranked generator to recharge the battery.
Variants include a simple canister of pure oxygen which is trickled into a mask to supplant local oxygen content. These are slightly lighter (.7kg) and much quieter, but cannot be recharged as the compressor type can. They require replacement cylinders per 10 hours of use at a mass of .4kg and cost of 50Cr. This latter type is used where mass is an important consideration, and long-term use of the system is not needed.
A Respirovest is a type of high collared straight jacket wound with multiple wire coils. When the respirovest coils are properly energized they create a magnetic motor-field tuned to the magnetic moment of oxygen. The molecules are impelled into the nostrils and/or mouth and pushed down into the lungs. Carbon dioxide molecules (inversely magnetic) are pushed the other way.
SCUBA is an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. This is a simple life support system designed for underwater exploration, consisting of one or more tanks of compressed gasses which is passed through a pressure regulator for easiest breathing.
The Oxygen Tanks used for most Scuba gear are constructed of either Aluminum or Steel, usually between 10 and 12 liters is size. They are capable of holding gas pressurized to 300 bar, giving a breathing time of around one hour, less under strenuous or deep diving conditions. When full they weigh between 10kg and 12kg each. Usually the tanks are weighted so that when full, they will sink in water but when empty they will rise.
The regulator supplied reduces the high pressure of the tank (at 300 bar) to a correctly breathable pressure depending upon depth of the diver. SCUBA pressure regulators and breathing apparatus is designed to work under normal atmosphere or higher pressures. They will not function correctly under very low (0.1 atmosphere or less) pressure conditions or in a vacuum.
For most open regulators, the tanks hold compressed air, frequently with an enhanced oxygen content to extend dive time and depths allowed. Under common conditions, this allows for dive depths of up to 30 meters. For deeper dives, the inert nitrogen is partly or entirely replaced with Helium.
The Scuba tanks are 10 liters in size, weigh 10kg when filled and cost Cr300 each. A pair of tanks is 20 liters, 21 kg (including harness) and costs Cr600. The purchase of an air tank includes one regulator and mouthpiece for breathing. Refilling the tanks is usually Cr10 and takes less than an hour. Replacing or restoring the CO2 costs Cr1 and takes less than a minute.
SCUBA regulator comes in one of three types: Open, semi-closed, and full closed. Open regulators simply exhaust the outgoing breath into the surrounding water. This type of gear is the simplest to use and maintain. The dive times estimate for a tank of gas assumes an open regulator.
Semi-closed regulator, also known as a rebreather, recycles some of the exhausted air back into the rebreather. This allows for more efficient use of the air tank and dive times of up to twice as long as the open regulators. The regulator is more complex than an open regulator and needs to be adjusted for the gas mixture to correctly balance the exhaled and new gas.
Fully closed regulators cycle the exhaled air through a CO2 absorbent material. This allows the air supply to last up to 10 times as long, though the lifetime CO2 scrubbing is usually the limiting factor. As with the rebreather, the closed regulator needs careful monitoring and adjustments not to cause problems.
|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Scuba_set. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. The text of Wikipedia is available under the Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.|
A snorkel is a small tube which permits the diver to submerge completely but continue to breathe as long as the end of the snorkel is above water. There are many sizes of snorkels, but since these are all under 40 cm tall, once a snorkel gets past that length,the air exchange is not sufficient to support the diver.
14 Breathing apparatus items
|Artificial Gill||Breathing apparatus||8||6.0 liters||4.0 kg||Cr4,000|
|Artificial Gill||Breathing apparatus||12||4.0 liters||3.0 kg||Cr5,000|
|Artificial Gill||Breathing apparatus||13||1.4 liters||0.5 kg||Cr7,500|
|Filter Mask||Breathing apparatus||3||1 liter||1 kg||Cr50|
|Filter Respirator Combination Mask||Breathing apparatus||5||1.0 liter||0.5kg||Cr150|
|Life support pack||Breathing apparatus||7||5kg||Cr100|
|Oxygen Mask||Breathing apparatus||5||2 liters||1 kg||Cr 100|
|Oxygen Rebreather||Breathing apparatus||11||1.5 kg||Cr200|
|Oxygen Tank||Breathing apparatus||5||115l||2.5kg||Cr500|
|Pocket Scuba||Breathing apparatus||8||0.5l||0.5kg||Cr100|
|Portable Life Support System||Breathing apparatus||6||94l||2kg||Cr3000|
|Portable Life Support System||Breathing apparatus||7||100l||7kg||Cr5000|
|Portable Life Support System||Breathing apparatus||9||115l||14kg||Cr8000|
|Respirator||Breathing apparatus||6||2l||1 kg||Cr100|
|Respirovest||Breathing apparatus||13||4.5 liters||3.0 kg|
|SCUBA||Breathing apparatus||6||20 liters||10 kg||Cr300|
|Snorkel||Breathing apparatus||5||0.5 liters||0.1 kg||Cr5|