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The effects of depressurization on the human body


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#1 black_mage_s   Banned   -  Reputation: 103

Posted 07 January 2004 - 08:24 AM

Alright, the title seems basic wnough, so I''m going to present a hypothetical situation based on what I''ve learned over the years and I will apply that to this situation. So a person is ejected from a pressurized environment into a vacuum. Now, before you say "they explode", that''s wrong. You don''t explode, HOWEVER this is what I think may happen: 1. Your lungs are completely emptied VERY fast meaning you are running on reserve oxygen. 2. Your capilliaries burst, causing the skin to become a tint of red. 3. The capilliaries near the eyes rupture, causing you to "cry" blood. 4. After 2 minutes, you die due to lack of oxygen and extreme cold. If, through some bizarr series of events you were to survive, odds are you would suffer from extensive capilliary damage, possibly 2 collapsed lungs and, if you had to be resusitated, possibly some brain damage. Does this seem accurate?
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#2 Ilici   Members   -  Reputation: 862

Posted 07 January 2004 - 08:26 AM

Anyone tried it ?

#3 Fruny   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1653

Posted 07 January 2004 - 08:31 AM

Think about diving decompression accidents.


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#4 psykr   Members   -  Reputation: 295

Posted 07 January 2004 - 08:36 AM

It depends on whether you are just straight out ejected, or someone cuts your space suit. I think that you can survive for something like 15 seconds without any permanent damage.

I have also heard that holding your breath will do worse things.. something about the air in your lungs expanding and killing you, I think.

edit: Make it seem more tentative, since these are all pieces of information from the back of my mind with arguable validity.

[edited by - psykr on January 7, 2004 3:38:39 PM]

#5 black_mage_s   Banned   -  Reputation: 103

Posted 07 January 2004 - 08:38 AM

quote:
Original post by psykr
I have also heard that holding your breath will do worse things.. something about the air in your lungs expanding and killing you, I think.


Yes, you''d either explode or the air would burst through your mouth.



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#6 T2k   Members   -  Reputation: 220

Posted 07 January 2004 - 08:44 AM

---dont read if you have a good imagination and a weak stomach---


nah, you would explode , think about all the air in your lungs, in your gut/other body parts, i think the depresuration would be to fast (slowing down would only increase your chances to survive) and not all air would leave your body the natural way (breathing out or farting :D) so some air/gas bulbs would blow your body up and maybe cause you to explode, think about what happens when a diver goes to fast up and reduces the presure on his body by some Bar/Psi. Not much will happen compared to vacuum but it already can cause heavy damage.
One theory ive heard (somewhere in a tale) is that once you breath all your lungs empty (you still have to fart a huge ammount of gases) and you will need very good medical help after some seconds before your brain takes to much damage or takes a ride through your nose... ok its not an explosion like a chemical-detonator would cause but i dont think you would survive 10seconds in vacuum...
Ive once seen a whale stranded on a coast and guess what happened :D it exploded because the rotting gases blow it up. I was happy that my tv has no smelling-device attached, but you saw it all and it was a real mess.


T2k

#7 black_mage_s   Banned   -  Reputation: 103

Posted 07 January 2004 - 08:47 AM

quote:
Original post by T2k

Ive once seen a whale stranded on a coast and guess what happened :D it exploded because the rotting gases blow it up. I was happy that my tv has no smelling-device attached, but you saw it all and it was a real mess.


T2k


Actually, that is not the same. The exact same things happens to cows. They close off their orifices when they die, causing gases from the digestive process to build up until they pop. They only way to stop it is with a good jab in the stomach.



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#8 dede   Members   -  Reputation: 132

Posted 07 January 2004 - 08:51 AM

You would be able to survive a very slow depressurization. In this case, you''d experience pretty much what you are thinking of.

Now, a very rapid depressurization will kill you right out. It is what they use to euthanize stray dogs. Throw them in a room, slowly compress the room, release the pressure, the dog dies quickly, painlessly and without needing to actually touch the dog itself.

Its also a great fear of people who run high altitude testing. The room is pressurized, but if the room were to spring a sudden and large leak, everyone would die without knowing what hit them.

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#9 5010   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Posted 07 January 2004 - 08:54 AM

See Human Exposure to Vacuum.

#10 MDI   Members   -  Reputation: 266

Posted 07 January 2004 - 08:54 AM

quote:
Original post by Fruny
Think about diving decompression accidents.


“Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it.”
— Brian W. Kernighan (C programming language co-inventor)



Diving decompression isn''t as quick a process as being ejected into a vacuum from a pressurised area.

#11 black_mage_s   Banned   -  Reputation: 103

Posted 07 January 2004 - 08:57 AM

Check it out! I was right, you could survive depressurization for 90 seconds, as in explosive depressurizaton. Here''s the linky:

Exerpt from linky:

quote:

"Some degree of consciousness will probably be retained for 9 to 11 seconds (see chapter 2 under Hypoxia). In rapid sequence thereafter, paralysis will be followed by generalized convulsions and paralysis once again. During this time, water vapor will form rapidly in the soft tissues and somewhat less rapidly in the venous blood. This evolution of water vapor will cause marked swelling of the body to perhaps twice its normal volume unless it is restrained by a pressure suit. (It has been demonstrated that a properly fitted elastic garment can entirely prevent ebullism at pressures as low as 15 mm Hg absolute [Webb, 1969, 1970].) Heart rate may rise initially, but will fall rapidly thereafter. Arterial blood pressure will also fall over a period of 30 to 60 seconds, while venous pressure rises due to distention of the venous system by gas and vapor. Venous pressure will meet or exceed arterial pressure within one minute. There will be virtually no effective circulation of blood. After an initial rush of gas from the lungs during decompression, gas and water vapor will continue to flow outward through the airways. This continual evaporation of water will cool the mouth and nose to near-freezing temperatures; the remainder of the body will also become cooled, but more slowly.



http://www.sff.net/people/Geoffrey.Landis/vacuum.html

Hooray.



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#12 Uthman   Members   -  Reputation: 480

Posted 08 January 2004 - 10:06 AM

How would it sound like to be depressurized? I mean, theres no air in space, but im sure your brain would register *some* sort of noise if either/both eardrums are being sucked out

#13 black_mage_s   Banned   -  Reputation: 103

Posted 08 January 2004 - 02:23 PM

quote:
Original post by Uthman
How would it sound like to be depressurized? I mean, theres no air in space, but im sure your brain would register *some* sort of noise if either/both eardrums are being sucked out


Well, in the situation I am trying to work out, a somewhat large enclosed space suddenly decompressing, you would hear what could be equated to a thunderclap, followed by the sound of that same noise growing quieter as the airmass dissapated.



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#14 Uthman   Members   -  Reputation: 480

Posted 08 January 2004 - 02:30 PM

interesting...



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#15 drarem   Members   -  Reputation: 100

Posted 08 January 2004 - 03:33 PM

Depending on where you are in relation to the sun, you may freeze solid before you explode, even if it is in the shadow of your space station.. it would be like carbonite => until earth pulled you crashing down into pieces - then resusitation would hurt.

#16 cowsarenotevil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2001

Posted 08 January 2004 - 03:37 PM

It's been tested on animals, and they survived. I don't know what all happened to them, though. Oh, and you wouldn't freeze to death if you were close enough to the sun to be pulled into earth.

EDIT: As for people going on about diving, realize that the pressure difference between nothing and air is actually not more than the pressure difference between water and air.



[edited by - coWsaRenOtevIl on January 8, 2004 10:39:12 PM]

#17 drarem   Members   -  Reputation: 100

Posted 08 January 2004 - 03:51 PM

here''s an interesting site:

http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_127.html

talking about how water would react in a vacuum then space.. the website itself is an interesting look

#18 Extrarius   Members   -  Reputation: 1412

Posted 08 January 2004 - 04:00 PM

NASA says
quote:
[...]If you don''t try to hold your breath, exposure to space for half a minute or so is unlikely to produce permanent injury. Holding your breath is likely to damage your lungs, something scuba divers have to watch out for when ascending, and you''ll have eardrum trouble if your Eustachian tubes are badly plugged up, but theory predicts -- and animal experiments confirm -- that otherwise, exposure to vacuum causes no immediate injury. You do not explode. Your blood does not boil. You do not freeze. You do not instantly lose consciousness.[...]


#19 CpMan   Members   -  Reputation: 532

Posted 08 January 2004 - 04:15 PM

You would not freeze because there is not enough matter in space to quickly transfer heat to the surroundings.



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#20 cowsarenotevil   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2001

Posted 08 January 2004 - 04:34 PM

quote:
Original post by CpMan
You would not freeze because there is not enough matter in space to quickly transfer heat to the surroundings.



What about radiation?

EDIT: Heh, a double meaning... evil radiation from the sun, and radiation of heat from your body to space...



[edited by - coWsaRenOtevIl on January 8, 2004 11:35:30 PM]




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