Plant Safety & Maintenance
Published July 2001
Imagine a personal cooling garment that maintains a comfortable 59° F (15° C), weighs less than 5 lb., and last as long as a 13 lb. frozen ice vest, that is what you get with Glacier Tek's phase change technology cooling vest. Research by both NASA and the private sector has led to a technological breakthrough with the advent of a phase change material that actually freeze at a set temperature well above ice or gel. This new material allows a heat transfer to occur from the human body at a temperature that is cool, but not cold, a comfortable 59° F (15°C). The constant temperature cool vest utilizes a 59° F (15° C) cooling formulation encapsulated in an anatomically designed cool pack. The cool pack makes a change in minutes from a clear liquid to a semi-solid, white waxy form and maintains = 59° F (15°C) throughout its cooling cycle. Unlike the extremely cold temperatures of ice and gel, the higher temperature 59° F (15°C) formulation works in harmony with the body. When wearing an energized cool vest, this cool phase change material heat sinks the excessive heat the body creates when exercising, wearing protective clothing, encapsulating suites or just working in HOT environments.
How does it feel?
When you first put an energized vest or jacket on, it feels cool, not cold. Since skin temperature is approximately 92° F (33°C), each individual will react differently to its cooling sensation. Some individuals may feel a slight cooling throughout the duration of the cooling life cycle, while others may not. After approximately 30 to 45 minutes, some individuals may feel very little of the "cooling sensation", because the body is reacting very well to this higher temperature and acclimating. Unlike the painful cold shock one feels when ice or gel is placed against the skin, the comfortable 59° F (15°C) temperature of the CoolPack feels more like jumping into a swimming pool. for the first few minutes it feels cool, and then, as time passes, you hardly notice the sensation. Hence, the body has acclimated to the cooler temperature.
Physiologically how does it work?
When the body needs to regulate its temperature, the brain triggers vasodilatation of the blood vessels to increase the blood flow to the peripheral skin areas of the body to stimulate sweating. An increase in heart rate occurs, and the body begins its natural process of temperature regulation. As the cooling formulation inside the cool pack absorbs your body's excessive heat, it is cooling the soft tissues and blood as it circulates throughout the cardiovascular system. As the blood and soft tissue become cooler, less metabolic activity is required to meet the demand to regulate your body's internal temperature. By cooling the blood flow without vasoconstriction, hypoxia is avoided and proper oxygen flow is maintained. Your body remains calmer, metabolic activity may slow, and less body fluids are forfeited maintaining suitable electrolyte balance needed for proper muscle function and optimum physical performance. Akin to a radiator in an automobile and automobile engine, the formulation in the cool pack absorbs and wicks away the bodies heat. As the body's engine becomes cooler, less heat needs to be expelled. As its internal temperature is regulated and maintained, the body experiences less stress, so the brain doesn't trigger the need for additional hyperactivity required to regulate the body's temperature.
Many industry experts agree that a large percentage of job site accidents involving the lack of alertness and poor decision processes could have been contributed to heat stress When wearing a Phase Change Technology cool vest for heat stress relief, the individuals will feel more energetic and vigilant after several hours. Studies by both government and the private sector have shown Increases in test subject production / performance capabilities increase by 22% - 37% and showed little or no increase in body core temperature.