How much atmospheric pressure can the human body tolerate before the human is crushed to death?

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In Physics
The quick answer is: we don't know, because we have not tried it, yet. But Probably, spending too much time at two or three thousand atmospheres would do you some serious harm. Six thousand atmospheres would probably kill one rather fast. But in any case death would only be caused by mechanical chemical-denaturation of some of your more fragile proteins. So, you would feel real sick and then die, but you would not perceive any sense of a crushing pressure.


This is because typical earthly pressures on solids and liquids cause little or no measurable compression -- they do not appreciably change their density, unlike with gases.


The current record for human tolerance is 2300 feet of simulated sea water (68 atmospheres) by persons in a hyperbolic chamber. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturation_diving


High Pressure Processing (HPP) is a method of food processing where food is subjected to elevated pressures (up to 87,000 pounds per square inch or approximately 6,000 atmospheres or 39 miles of water). Pressure inactivates most vegetative bacteria at pressures above 60,000 pounds per square inch or 4,083 atmospheres - or 26 miles of water.


The deepest slot in the deepest trench of the ocean is less than seven miles deep. That's 36,200 feet, compared to the 2,300 foot current record. It's no where near the 26 miles needed to kill most bacteria, but could it kill people? Maybe.


So, in the movie "The Abyss" they did a pretty good job with the science of deep diving.
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