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Encyclopedia > Airlock
A glovebox for handling air-sensitive substances. Two airlocks (a small and a large one) are attached to the right to take samples in and out without disturbing the inert atmosphere inside

An airlock is a device which permits the passage of people and objects between a pressure vessel and its surroundings while minimizing the change of pressure in the vessel and loss of air from it. The lock consists of a small chamber with two airtight doors in series which do not open simultaneously. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2048x1536, 665 KB) Summary This is a picture of a glovebox taken by User:Rune. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2048x1536, 665 KB) Summary This is a picture of a glovebox taken by User:Rune. ... A common form of glovebox. ... Steel Pressure Vessel A pressure vessel is a closed, rigid container designed to hold gases or liquids at a pressure different from the ambient pressure. ... The use of water pressure - the Captain Cook Memorial Jet in Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra, Australia. ... Look up air in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A hermetic seal is an airtight seal. ... Look up Door in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


An airlock may also be used for passage between environments of different gases rather than different pressures, to minimise or prevent the gases from mixing.


An airlock may also be used underwater to allow passage between an air environment in a pressure vessel and a water environment outside, in which case the airlock can contain air or water. This is called a floodable airlock or an underwater airlock, and is used to prevent water under high pressure flooding a submersible or an underwater habitat. An underwater scene just beneath the surface. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Underwater habitats are research facilities that are fixed underwater and are able to support human life. ...

Contents

Use

Before opening either door, the air pressure of the airlock (in the space between the doors) is equalized with that of the environment behind the next door to open. This is analogous to a waterway lock: a section of waterway with two watertight gates, in which the water level can be varied to match the water level on either side. Canal locks in England. ...


A gradual pressure transition minimizes air temperature fluctuations (see Boyle's law), which helps reduce fogging and condensation, decreases stresses on air seals and allows safe verification of pressure suit and space suit operation. Boyles law (sometimes referred to as the Boyle Mariotte law) is one of the gas laws. ... Gordon Cooper in a helmet and pressure suit, A pressure suit is a pressurized suit worn by high-altitude pilots who may fly so high that even breathing pure oxygen at surrounding pressure would not provide enough oxygen for them to function: see hypoxia. ... Apollo 15 space suit A spacesuit is a complex system of garments, equipment, and environmental systems designed to keep a person alive and comfortable in the harsh environment of outer space. ...


Where a person who is not in a pressure suit is moving between environments of greatly different pressures, an airlock can change the pressure slowly to help with internal air cavity equalization and to prevent decompression sickness. This is critical in Scuba diving, and a diver may have to sit in an underwater airlock for some hours in line with decompression rules. Gordon Cooper in a helmet and pressure suit, A pressure suit is a pressurized suit worn by high-altitude pilots who may fly so high that even breathing pure oxygen at surrounding pressure would not provide enough oxygen for them to function: see hypoxia. ... The term sinus (Latin for bay, pocket, curve or bosom) is used in various contexts. ... Decompression sickness (DCS), the diver’s disease, the bends, or caisson disease is the name given to a variety of symptoms suffered by a person exposed to a reduction in the pressure surrounding their body. ... Scuba diving is swimming underwater while using self-contained breathing equipment. ...


Applications

Airlocks are used in

  • spacecraft, to prevent pressure loss when exiting or entering the craft.
  • hyperbaric chambers, to allow entry and exit while maintaining the pressure difference with the surroundings.
  • submarines, diving chambers and underwater habitats to permit divers to exit and enter underwater. Torpedo tubes and escape trunks in submarines also act as a form of airlock.
  • 'clean rooms', protected environments in which dust and other contaminants are prevented from coming in by maintaining the room at a higher pressure than the surroundings.
  • hazardous environments, such as nuclear reactors and some biochemical laboratories, in which dust and particles are prevented from leaking out by maintaining the room at a lower pressure then the surroundings.
  • pressurized domes such as the USF Sun Dome and BC Place.

The Space Shuttle Discovery as seen from the International Space Station. ... Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the medical use of oxygen at a higher than atmospheric pressure. ... USS Virginia, a Virginia-class nuclear attack (SSN) submarine Alvin in 1978, a year after first exploring hydrothermal vents. ... Diving bell A diving bell is a cable suspended watertight chamber, open at the bottom, that is lowered underwater to operate as a base or a means of transport for a small number of divers. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Professional diving. ... Torpedo tubes of the French SNLE Redoutable A torpedo tube is a device for launching torpedoes in a horizontal direction. ... Submarine escape trunk An escape trunk is a small compartment on a submarine that provides a means for people to escape from a downed submarine. ... Core of a small nuclear reactor used for research. ... Biochemistry is the study of the chemical processes and transformations in living organisms. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The USF Sun Dome The USF Sun Dome is a 55,000 square-foot multi-purpose entertainment/sports facility on the campus of the University of South Florida, which is located in Tampa, Florida. ... BC Place Stadium is Canadas first domed stadium. ...

Similar mechanisms

In cold climates, two doors arranged in an airlock configuration are common in building entrances. While not airtight, the double doors minimize the loss of heated air from the building. Revolving doors may be used for the same purpose. A revolving door is a type of door that, as its name suggests, revolves in its frame. ...


Jewelry stores and butterfly habitats often have two doors that open separately, to make it more difficult for criminals/butterfly's to escape.


Fictional airlocks

A four-door airlock (with, therefore, three interior chambers) was proposed by science fiction writer H. Beam Piper in his novel Uller Uprising. In the proposal, the atmosphere inside the structure was human-breathable, while the outside atmosphere was highly toxic. Only one door of the airlock was to be opened at a time, and the middle chamber of the three would always contain a vacuum. Piper implied that this design would minimize traces of the exterior atmosphere traveling inside. Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


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