By Thomas Ronge |
Pressure can be an interesting thing. Deep inside the Earth’s interior, pressure transforms ordinary carbon into glittering diamonds (45-60 kilobar). Or, in combination with hot water it turns roasted Kona coffee (~9 bar) into the perfect espresso.
Besides this, pressure is one of the dominant parameters within the ocean. Every 10 m it increases by about 1 bar (plus 1 bar atmospherically pressure). This means a pressure of ~101 bar in a depth of about 1000 m.
For us, water pressure is a force that we need to protect our instruments against. Our coring devices or net-systems are quite insensitive to pressure. However, more complicated systems like our CTD-probe need reinforced casings to withstand the waters’ crushing force.
Despite all these dangers for our research, water pressure can be a lot of fun! A favourite pastime for many seafaring scientists (worldwide), is to paint styrofoam cups, attach them to their equipment and to send everything to the bottom of the sea. At the surface, these cups comprise of about 90% air-bubbles. Kilometres below, the cups are squeezed from all sides, in a way that forces the air to leave the cup and ultimately shrink them. Back on board the cups remain their new size and are a welcome souvenir.