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 is developing the Super Cool Vest to respond to the need for better-performing Personal Cooling Systems (PCS) for workers, arthletes, 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 militaries, 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:
- A novel, thermally-conductive polymer tube material with high heat transfer properties
- Improved efficiency in coolant pump circulation speed and power, reducing load on batteries/power source
- Optimized spacing and placement of cooling tubes to maximize heat extraction from the wearer’s body
- Management of biological vasoconstriction to optimize the heat transfer between the body and tubing.
A key shortcoming of many PCSs 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 new 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 Super Cool Vest: in fact, the current generation of the Super Cool Vest 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 thermoregulatory 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 a commerciality 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.
To learn more, visit http://supercoolvest.com/
Additional benefits include: