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Argon information and pricing

Is your dry suit as warm as possible?

If you are not using argon, then the answer is NO.

What is argon?

Argon is an inert gas with superior insulating properties.  Simply put, argon does not conduct heat as readily as air.  For many years, argon has been used in areas such as high efficiency windows, light bulbs, welding, and laser applications.  When used for dry suit inflation, some sources claim argon can provide about 50% more insulation than air.

Argon is only useful if used in conjunction with a dry suit.  Argon is not a breathable gas and does not provide an advantage in depth, dive time, decompression or other dive profile characteristics.

So how does argon work?

Argon is a dense gas.  Much more dense than regular compressed air.  When a diver uses a dry suit, the cold water around the dry suit cools the air that is trapped inside the dry suit.  Because of this the diver has to wear an insulating undergarment.  In many cases these undergarments are much thicker than what would normally be worn on a cold day on land.  This is due to the compression effect experienced underwater.  The greater the depth the more the air inside the dry suit will compress.  This includes the air pockets inside the undergarment as well.  So the deeper a dry suit diver goes the more his/her undergarment will compress, leaving him/her with a thinner layer of protection against the cold air.  That is why dry suit undergarments are so thick, so that when a diver goes to depth his/her undergarment will still provide some amount of useful insulation.

Argon serves as a better insulator than air.  By filling the dry suit with argon the diver replaces the thinner, more compressible air with denser gas that does not compress nearly as much under a given pressure.  This is a very advantageous concept for the dry suit diver.  Argon insulates better, but it also is more resistant to compression as the diver goes deeper under the water. That means that the insulation provided by the undergarment is also more effective.

The other advantage to using argon is that it requires less venting and filling of the airspace inside the dry suit. As depth changes, argon is less effected by those changes than regular air.  As the diver ascends, he/she does not need to vent as much to maintain neutral buoyancy.  Similarly, as the diver descends, less argon is needed to maintain neutral buoyancy.

What about equipment compatibility?

Argon is an inert gas, which means it does not react with other materials or chemicals. Cylinders, regulators and valves do not require any special preparation or cleaning to be used with argon. This makes the addition of an argon warm gas system to a SCUBA set up more cost effective.

Price

Argon is $1.00 per cubic foot.  Diver Dan's is able to fill any size cylinder to any pressure.