Pressure and Barotrauma

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities, and you.

Pressure and Barotrauma

Changes in barometric (air) or water pressure can cause a body injury called barotrauma. There are several different types of injuries from pressure especially from diving which compresses or expands gas contained in various body structures. Common injuries including:

      • Pulmonary (lung) barotrauma
      • Mask barotrauma (mask squeeze)
      • Ear barotrauma (ear squeeze)
      • Sinus barotrauma (sinus squeeze)
      • Dental barotrauma (tooth squeeze)
      • Eye barotrauma (eye squeeze)
      • Gastrointestinal tract barotrauma (gut squeeze)

Surprisingly, the risk of barotrauma is greatest from the surface to depths of 33 feet (10 meters). Perhaps the most well-known diving barotrauma is the bends, decompression sickness or nitrogen narcosis. The basic recommendation to avoid the bends is ascending slowly from every dive with 30 ft (10 m) per minute being a safe ascent rate.

mystkittsdivebuddy - Decompression SicknessImage source:
https://mystkittsdivebuddy.com/decompression-sickness-what-you-need-to-know/

Ears are a common location for barotrauma caused by water pressure as noted above but also by a change in altitude when flying in an airplane. Common symptoms include:

      • Pain
      • A feeling of stuffy ears
      • Hearing loss
      • Dizziness

Treatments for ear barotrauma target relieving the pressure and include chewing gum and yawning. In some instances, decongestants may also help relieve the pressure.

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Pressure Sensing Floor Mats

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities, and you.

Pressure Sensing Floor Mats

One of the problems that healthcare workers can encounter is a patient unexpectedly leaving their bed or their room. One possible solution is a pressure sensing floor mat placed next to a bed or in a doorway to monitor when a resident gets up or leaves their room. For example, a 24-inch x 48-inch pressure sensing mat by Smart Caregiver works with wireless and cordless fall prevention monitors. The sensor mats or pads typically need at least 35 lbs. of weight applied for the product to monitor a patient and alert a caregiver. Material inside the pads is layered with a silver lining. With pressure applied, the layers are compressed. Then, when pressure is removed, the layers separate causing the system to alarm. The same technique is used in a cordless chair sensor pad in a 10-inch x 15-inch format. While this design uses a pressure switch, one with a pressure sensor could provide a variable sensing point or actual weight to distinguish between adults and small children.

Pressure Sensing Mat by Smart Caregiver

The 24-inch x 48-inch pressure sensing mat by Smart Caregiver.

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Pressure to Blow Out a Candle

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities, and you.

Pressure to Blow Out a Candle

When wildfires occur, wind is a major threat to make them even more dangerous. However, a single breath can blow out a candle. One of the differences is the fuel.

Unlike the forest fire that continues to burn and consume everything in its path, the candle’s gas flame is highly unstable. After fire initially melts the wax, wax is continuously pumped into the wick and turned into combustible gas. Blowing into the flame blows away the gas that is burning. When flame disappears, there is not enough heat left to turn more wax into gas, so the candle goes out.

Blowing Out the Candles (Birthday) | MakingArtFun.com

To blow out the candle, puckering the lips creates a venturi so the airflow is much greater than exhaling or inhaling.  According to Bernoulli’s Principle, as the speed of air increases, the pressure decreases. Blowing against one side of the candle’s flame, creates an area of low pressure. Normal maximal expiratory pressure (MEP) values could be as high as 120 to 150 cm H2O, so the pressure to blow out the candle could be 3 to 5 times this value. However, the impact of air directed at a flame with a small area is sufficient to snuff it out.

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Sinus Pressure – Pop Goes Your Eardrum

Welcome to All Sensors “Put the Pressure on Us” blog. This blog brings out pressure sensor aspects in a variety of applications inspired by headlines, consumer and industry requirements, market research, government activities, and you.

Sinus Pressure – Pop Goes Your Eardrum

A sinus infection or sinusitis can result in headaches, sinus pressure and other symptoms including ear and teeth pain. There are treatments for sinusitis and immediate approaches for the ears. To relieve the ear pressure, 8 ways to pop your ears, include:

      1. Swallowing
      2. Yawning
      3. Valsalva maneuver
      4. Toynbee maneuver
      5. Applying a warm washcloth
      6. Nasal decongestants
      7. Nasal corticosteroids
      8. Ventilation tubes

Two of these specifically address the pressure aspect.

Diagram of the Inner Ear | Chad Ruffin, MD

Image courtesy of Chad Ruffin, MD

In the Valsalva maneuver, the individual should pinch their nostrils closed with their fingers. With the cheeks in a neutral, or pulled in position, they should blow air gently through their nostrils. This process generates pressure in the back of the nose to help open the Eustachian tube, the passageway that connects the throat to the middle ear.

Inserting ventilation tubes, or pressure equalizing (PE) tubes into one or both ears can drain out excess fluid.

While it might be interesting to know the value of the pressure, in this case, the more important aspect is relieving it.

Do you have a pressure sensing question? Let us know and we’ll address it in an upcoming blog.
Email us at [email protected]