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March 1998 Vol. 13, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Will scuba tanks someday look like lifesavers?

from the March, 1998 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Will scuba tanks someday look like lifesavers?Researchers working at Britain’s Defence Evaluation Research Agency claim the doughnut-shaped “toroid” could revolutionize diving and other activities.

Traditional aluminum tanks are heavy and difficult to carry. “If you wear our toroid, you can transfer most of the weight onto the hips instead of the shoulders, which is snugger and more comfortable,” says John Cook, head of the DERA development team.

Furthermore, divers often hit their heads on the valve or have it hook on coral outcroppings or kelp. In the toroid the valves are tucked safely away in the middle of the doughnut.

The torroid design uses Kevlar to strengthen the aluminum walls and produce far stronger devices weighing about 13 lbs. (steel and aluminum tanks weigh 30-40 lbs.) And, the shape makes it easier to tote.

While the torroid has not been fully tested for divers, to our eye it appears that its underwater drag, fitting it with a BC, and its large circumference pose problems. Nonetheless, the inventors are confident the design will eventually get a share of the diving market.

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