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Scuba diving opens up an adventure that's unimaginable for those with land legs. The wonders that lie beneath the water's surface are amazing. From the oceans and lakes to hidden caves and more, those who scuba see things that can only be imagined from the land.

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A Look at Scuba Wet Suits

by Peter Emerson

Scuba wet suits were not taken seriously until World War II and the advent of Navy Frogmen (SEALs) who became one of America's most effective weapons of the war. On any kind of measurable basis, costs of operations versus costs of effectiveness, man-to-man, or overall kill ratios, the SEALs exceeded expectations on any level. Once recognized, the military put a much time and money into improving the effectiveness of its frogmen. That meant improving the design, effectiveness and durability of wet suits.

There is a controversy that developed at the time over whether or not wet suits had to remain dry. Sounds like a set up for a joke but it's not. All underwater, rubberized protective outfits are called wetsuits. The controversy was over whether heat loss from the diver's body could be controlled better if the wetsuit kept his skin dry or not. It was Hugh Bradner who is credited with the first wet suit in 1952. Mr. Bradner was actually working as a physicist at UC Berkeley's radiation laboratory where he was testing the reflections of shock waves on unicellular material and was invited to attend a Swimmer's Symposium. His concept was that the diver's skin does not have to stay dry to prevent heat loss if the thermal insulation used in the wet suit was obtained by air entrapped in the material of the suit.

With the French invention of the Aqua-Lung, Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) was used in the war and afterwards spawned investigative teams exploring the ocean's many mysteries. As soon as this began, the pressing need for wetsuits was made painfully obvious by the divers suffering from hypothermia after only a few dives. The divers tried everything from greased long johns to leftover Air Force survival suits, and the Bradner wet suit. Bradner was the first to use a unicellular material similar to the type he was working with in the radiation laboratory in his wet suit. The material came from a company called Rubatex and was called Neoprene and the original model for today's high-tech, three-level wet suit was born.

About the Author

Wet Suits Info provides detailed information about triathlon, scuba, and surfing wet suits, as well as wet suits for kids and infants. Wet Suits Info is affiliated with Business Plans by Growthink.

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