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The Pendulum Rebreather-Special Note

The Pendulum Rebreather is a specific type of rebreather that takes its name from the to and fro movement of the breathing gas through the scrubber. Most pendulum units are simple O2 CCRs or Nitrox SCRs intended primarily for use in shallow water. The unit has a mouthpiece, a short hose connecting with the scrubber and a counterlung. The diver exhales directly into the mouthpiece and the breathing gas travels via a short as practical hose length into a scrubber and passes directly into the counterlung. Specific to this principle is that both inhaled and exhaled air pass via the same hose through the scrubber without intervening valves. The exhaled gas passes through the scrubber into the counterlung and back along the same path upon inhalation. The breathing gas is therefore scrubbed both directions. Since the volume of the mouthpiece and connecting hose are significantly larger than the normal physiological dead space there is an increased risk of CO2 retention with this design. It is therefore very important for the diver to adopt a mode of slow deep breathing to eliminate CO2 from his system. Regular users of pendulum rebreathers report that this becomes automatic after a short while. The advantage of the system is its very simple construction, and that the carbon dioxide is being efficiently scrubbed. Oxygen or breathing gas, may be replaced by simple manual injection, by constant flow or a combination. Some units include an ADV

The Pendulum Rebreather-Special Note


system to maintain counterlung volume as gas is used or as volume decreases upon descent thereby improving buoyancy and preventing a shortage of breathing volume. This is especially useful upon rapid descents. Some units use a carefully graduated addition valve that can supply an O2 flow at a constant rate that can be adjusted between 0.9 and 2.5 liters per minute or supply a mixed gas at a rate that maintains an adequately oxygenated breathing gas in the system. These later units are CMV type SCRs that simply use the pendulum operating principle. These units also allow manual addition. Essentially all of the various refinements that can be applied to Circuit Rebreathers can also be applied to a pendulum type. One type of refinement specifically for pendulum rebreathers is to place the addition port high-up, in the breathing system. That is to say have the fresh breathing gas enter near the mouthpiece or full face mask so that the flow of gas sweeps the stagnant gas of the connecting hose into the scrubber. Another approach towards periodically purging this dead space is to locate the overflow valve of an Pendulum-SCR near the mouthpiece or FFM so that CO2 saturated breathing gas cannot accumulated over time. Both of these systems have proven moderately effective at decreasing CO2 retention in pendulum rebreathers.

The Pendulum Rebreather-Special Note


A property of all rebreather systems is that the breathing gas is heated by the chemical reaction in the CO2 scrubber. This is usually an advantage in the marine environment, but is often a disadvantage for terrestrial use, such as in fighting fires or in toxic atmospheres. Firemen have often become overheated while using CC respirators. It is frequently said that the pendulum CCR heats the breathing gas twice, and may produce uncomfortably warm gas for that reason. More likely it is the short distance between the users airway and the scrubber that primarily contributes to this sensation. The breathing gas not having the opportunity to cool as it would in the circuit type systems. Regular users of pendulum rebreathers do not report the warmed breathing gas as a problem and most regard it favorably, especially while diving in cold water environments. Many types of scrubber designs have been used with pendulum rebreathers. Specific to this type of system is to eliminate all potential dead space including any that may exist in the scrubber. The breathing hose should conduct the gas directly into the chemically active area of the scrubber without any chamber or plenum interposed. Many older systems have excessive dead space.