[abstract]Advanced diver thermal protection for head and feet

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[abstract]Advanced diver thermal protection for head and feet

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Title: [abstract]Advanced diver thermal protection for head and feet
Author: Trifu, R; Baldic, J
Abstract: Introduction/Background: Wet- and drysuits do not protect divers effectively in extreme temperatures. Navy dive trials confirmed that super-insulating aerogel drysuit liners provided unsurpassed thermal protection, but further improvements were necessary for hands, feet and head to avoid aborts. This program has delivered highly insulating suit elements for diver head and feet that can be integrated into a full-body aerogel drysuit liner, while enhancing comfort and maneuverability. Materials and methods: A new aerogel material and application process were developed to fabricate caps and booties in a manner that minimizes thermal shunting. Aerogel precursors were infiltrated directly into prefabricated cap and boot liners, different from traditional techniques which would utilize flat aerogel blankets stitched into a garment. This new process also enables rapid prototyping; streamlines cutting, stitching, and seaming; and allows variation of insulation thickness. Insulation values of caps and booties were assessed in a temperature controlled chamber using multizone calorimeters. Results: Aerogel liner caps and booties contained aerogel dust, which can be a nuisance. The assembly process for aerogel caps proved acceptable for the prototypes; booties proved more difficult to assemble due to the complexity of the form. An alternative assembly method using aerogel flat stock delivered a better-quality design. Head- and foot calorimetry testing showed the prototypes offer about double the insulation values of commercial hoods or booties used in dive suits. Manned testing has been performed on the latest design of caps and booties. Summary/Conclusions: Super-insulating aerogel liner caps and booties for extreme cold diving have been tested and are ready for low-rate production. While the preform infiltration process developed enabled good quality prototypes for testing, future work should assess other manufacturing methods for aerogel liners, such as fabrication from flat stock. Sponsor: NAVSEA
Description: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine : Journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc.
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/9475
Date: 2011

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  • UHMS Meeting Abstracts
    This is a collection of the published abstracts from the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) annual meetings.

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