A buoyancy compensator (BCD) controls buoyancy through a bladder or buoyant materials. It is used in diving suits, flotation devices, and construction for underwater foundations. The BCD has various applications and has been used for many years.
Essentially, a buoyancy compensator (BCD) is a piece of apparatus that helps control the buoyant nature of an object, often by the use of some sort of bladder structure that can be inflated or deflated to maintain a given level of buoyancy. . In other cases, the BCD may be composed of materials that have natural buoyancy qualities and therefore may allow people or objects to float in water or other liquids.
An excellent example of a buoyancy compensator would be the buoyancy control valve on a diving suit. Wetsuits come with a small cylinder that contains the gases that are used during a dive. By controlling the introduction of gases into the diver’s dry suit, the diver can create the correct level of buoyancy to allow exploration of life and object well below the surface of the water, while maintaining the correct pressure in the suit.
When the diver is ready to ascend, it is just a matter of decreasing the amount of gas inside the suit to allow for a safe return to the surface. The buoyancy compensator is also found in a number of other products related to water recreation. For example, any type of flotation device, such as water wings, life jackets, or even the inflatable life raft, could be described as a BCD.
When it comes to applications that aren’t associated with underwater exploration or water recreation, construction and the oil and gas industry come to mind. In both industries, variations on the basic double-chamber composition of such a device allow for the placement of steel and stone structures underwater as foundations for buildings and construction sites. Construction applications could also be seen as a combination of construction and underwater research, as divers are often used to verify proper placement of underwater piers and foundations.
Whether used for fun or for more practical concerns, the concept of the buoyancy compensator is one that has been with mankind for many years and will no doubt see a number of new applications as time goes on. In the meantime, remember that whether you’ve crossed a bridge or enjoyed a documentary about sunken ships, a buoyancy compensator has touched your life.