The need for a personal cooling system for personal, industrial, and military uses has existed for decades. Due to these needs and the numerous applications for a cooling vest a lot of research and product development has been done to create many cooling systems. The systems used in the current cooling vests can be broken down into five categories:
- Gel cooling
- Phase change cooling
- Water cooling
- Air cooling
- Combo systems which involve hybrid vests where they use combination systems such as evaporative and phase-change systems together.
Gel Cooling Vests
Evaporative cooling uses material crystals that absorb water when soaked and then turn to a gel form. This gel form then can be cooled and it will slowly release the water in the form of condensation. This will reduce your body temperature. The average times needed to cool or freeze (charge) the gel is from 5 minutes to 2 hours. The time that the vest will cool your body for a gel that is charged for two hours ranges from 2 to 5 hours. The weight of the vest averages at about 2 lbs.
Arctic Heat, Body Cooling Vest
The Arctic Heat vest uses crystals that when soaked in water for 15 minutes become activated and form a gel. Then the gel can be cooled in either ice water or in a freezer. The effective cooling time when wearing the vest depends on external temperature and the time the gel was charged for. If the gel is placed for 5 to 10 minutes in ice water the effective cooling of the vest is 60 minutes. Placing the gel in the freezer for two hours allows for two hours of effective cooling. When used in direct skin contact the vest can reduce the skin temperature by 630F while if worn over other clothing the vest can reduce skin temperature by 54 0F.
Phase-Change Cooling Vests
Phase-changing vests make use of liquid packets that are either cooled or frozen to a solid form. From the solid form the packets cool the body by using the heat transfer property of a material when changing from a solid to a liquid. From the solid phase the packets need heat to fuel the phase change, thus the packets absorb the heat given off by the body which in turn cools the body. This absorption of heat returns the material inside the packet to a liquid. The packets can take on average up to 45 minutes to cool in ice water or slightly less in a freezer. Cooled packets can remain at 58 degrees Fahrenheit for an average of 2.5 hours. The average total weight of the vest is 5.5 lbs.
Water Cooling Vests
These vests typically use a system where temperature controlled water is circulated around the body through tubes in the vest. The water is moved using a pump and as the water circulates it picks up heat from the body and leaves the vest at a warmer temperature than it came in as. The actual vests with water-filled tubes weigh from 10 ounces to 30 ounces. An additional cart is needed to hold the pump and cooled water.
EXAMPLES OF USE
Fire and Rescue services – Mining – Police – Athletes – Oil platforms – Chemical industry – Steel industry – Refineries – Nuclear plants – Paper mills – Waterjetting – Military services – Hazmat – Diving – Road workers
C&G cooling vest is a lightweight garment that contains insulated pockets which hold small ice packs. C&G clients who wear these vests often experience cooling relief when the weather turns warmer.