Active Cooling Suit

Oceanit’s advanced cooling garment delivers industry-leading personal cooling through better materials, design, and vasoconstriction management

A healthy human body maintains an internal temperature at approximately 37°C (98.6°F). That temperature will fluctuate with time of the day, level of physical activity, and emotional state. An increase in core body temperature of more than 1°C should only occur during illness, but can happen when environmental conditions are more than the body’s ability to cope with extreme conditions. Work and sporting environments can sometimes induce abnormal or even dangerous body temperature fluctuations. Dehydration, decreased physical performance, and decreased brain function are just some of the dangers faced when the body’s core temperature climbs too high.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 38 people died in the construction and manufacturing industries from exposure to extreme workplace temperatures in 2017. Thousands more suffer from heat-related injuries such as heat stroke, heat syncope, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, fainting, and more. In athletics, the upcoming Summer Olympics in Tokyo will have ambient temperatures above 33°C (91.4°F) and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar could have matches played in excess of 40°C (104°F).

Oceanit has developed the Active Cooling Suit, AKA ‘Super Cool Vest’, respond to the need for better-performing Personal Cooling Systems (PCS) for workers, athletes, and military personnel operating in harsh environments.

The demand for lowered “heat stress” in these arenas has led to a rise in the number of professional and commercial off the shelf cooling systems. PCS have become increasingly popular outside of construction and manufacturing, being adopted by armed forces, automotive race teams, athletes, firefighters, and other first responders. Current PCSs fall into three primary categories: liquid cooled, air cooled and phase change vests.

Oceanit’s Super Cool Vest was developed to be cooled using liquids, Phase Change Materials (PCM), thermocouples, compressed air, or even vapor compression. It is engineered to vastly outperform all other PCSs on the market today by using four key innovations:

  1. A novel, thermally-conductive polymer tube material with high heat transfer properties
  2. Improved efficiency in coolant pump circulation speed and power, reducing load on batteries/power source
  3. Optimized spacing and placement of cooling tubes to maximize heat extraction from the wearer’s body
  4. Management of biological vasoconstriction to optimize the heat transfer between the body and tubing.

A key shortcoming of many PCS’s is the tubing materials used, (i.e. PVC or Tygon) which have poor thermal conductivity.  This means the tubes circulating the coolant inhibit efficient extraction of the body’s heat . The critical component in increasing PCS efficiency is a thermally conductive polymer developed by Oceanit for the tubing that circulates coolant. Oceanit’s novel tubing polymer is lightweight, flexible, durable, and most importantly offers up to 50% better thermal conductivity than PVC or Tygon.

The improved heat transfer capability made possible by our advanced material means that coolant can be circulated more slowly, reducing required pump power, and saving energy. This is a crucial innovation for mobility, as wearers must rely on battery power to keep a PCS running over extended periods of time.

Extensive research was conducted on the optimal spacing/density and pathway for the new cooling tubes to improve heat transfer efficiency as well.  The optimized design resulted in a reduced number of connectors and longer length of tubing used in the Active Cooling Suit – in fact, the current generation of the Active Cooling Suit uses over 60 feet of tubing to provide optimized cooling across the wearer’s torso.

Finally, Oceanit addressed vasoconstriction, a key performance shortcoming for many PCS units. The human body’s thermo-regulatory system controls the thermal conductivity of the skin (and underlying tissue) in response to environmental conditions. Below 75°F, the body undergoes vasoconstriction (restricting the flow in blood vessels), reducing the effectiveness of any cooling at skin level. Existing liquid cooling systems typically operate between 60°F and 75°F (Guyton, 1990) which causes vasoconstriction, resulting in excess heat retention even in hot conditions. By operating above this range, the body can remain in a state of vasodilation (unrestricted flow in blood vessels) that promotes heat loss from the body.

In tests to date, data showed that the Super Cool Vest removed approximately 1.7x more heat than other commercially-available cooling vest at the same fluid conditions. In addition, the Super Cool Vest provided more cooling power at 80°F (27°C) than the competitor’s vest cooling at 70°F under the same flow conditions.

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Additional benefits include:

  • Ergonomic, light weight, and well-fitted garment that provides extremely high heat extraction from the human body without hampering full freedom of movement and dexterity.
  • Ability to be cooled using phase change materials (PCM), compressed air (vortex cooler) or water (cool pack, vapor compression) to provide cooling from 50W to 300W as required by the specific use case.
  • Engineered in conjunction with the body’s physiological responses to temperature. Remains above aggressive cooling temperatures (<75°F) that can trigger vasoconstriction and inhibit the body’s heat loss.
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