US 2762047 A
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Sept. 11, 1956 J. E. FLAGG ETAL 2,762,047
INFLATABLE GARMENT FOR AVIATOR-S AND THE LIKE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Sept. 27-, 1952 I-NVENTORIS JOHN E. FLAGO JOSEPH A- RUSEOKAS @//lr% ATTORNEY Sept. 11, 195
J. E. FLAGG ETAL 2,762,047 INFLATABLE GARMENT FOR AVIATORS AND THE LIKE Filed Sept. 27, 1952 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORS JOHN E.FLAGG JBOYSEPI'I A. RUSECKAS ATTORNEY Fice Patented Sept. 11, 1956 INFLATABLE GARMENT FOR AVIATORS AND THE LIKE John E. Flagg and Joseph A. Ruseckas, Worcester, Mass, assignors to David M. Clark, Worcester, Mass.
Application September 27, 1952, Serial No. 311,916
8 Claims. (Cl. 2-2) This invention relates to inflatable garments such as are worn by aviators engaged in flight maneuvers wherein violent accelerative forces, creating abnormal gravity conditions, are frequently encountered. An object of the invention is the provision of an improved and simplified inflatable garment, by which pressures adapted to counteract the disturbing physiological effects of such forces can be readily exerted on selected vulnerable portions of the wearers body.
In prior inflatable garments for the above and similar purposes, the space to which the pressure medium is admitted is usually provided between two matching coextensive outer and inner fabric walls, as shown for example in the patents to Holste No. 2,228,115, January 7, 1941, and Sellmeyer No. 2,379,497, July 3, 1945. All such two-wall garments tend, upon inflation, to immobilize the wearer, and to resist unduly the use and fiexure of any joints or articulations, such as his knees, that are contained Within the garment. Moreover, in any such two-wall garment, constraints imposed on the inner body-contacting wall by its connection at both extremities of the garment to the outer wall, make it diflicult if not impossible for said inner wall, when the garment is pressurized, to can form itself fully to various deep crevices and the like of the wearers body, with the result that such parts are not fully subjected to the desired counteracting pressures.
These difficulties would not be encountered in an inflatable garment of single wall construction, providing a pressure medium space between said wall and the contained portions of the wearers body. But it would be practically impossible, with such a single wall garment, to prevent the escape of the pressure medium at the zone or zones of juncture between the garment and the wearers body, as at the waist. Additional difficulties with such a single wall inflatable garment would also arise from the tendency of the pressure medium to enter any body opening enclosed by such a garment, with resulting discomfort to the wearer and possible harmful eflfects.
Our invention provides an inflatable garment having a novel wall arrangement, which obtains all of the advantages and none of the difliculties and disadvantages of single wall construction. Our improved garment, as hereinafter described, creates through its own inflation a highly effective seal with one or more portions of the wearers body, thereby to prevent any escape of the pressure medium from the garment, and any access of such pressure medium to body openings covered by the garment. Also, with the use of our improved garment the whole or any portion of the wearers body, with no loss of mobility, can be uniformly pressurized to the desired degree without discomfort and possible harmful effects caused by the pressure medium seeking to enter a body opening, due
to the pressure differential existing between the pressurized interior of the garment and the prevailing respiratory pressure.
The above and other advantageous features ofthe pres ent invention will hereinafter more fully appear from the following description, when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings,- in which- Fig. l is a view in side elevation showing a pressurized garment embodying the present invention, as being worn in a sitting position.
Fig. 2 is a view in front elevation of the garment shown in Fig. 1, with parts broken away to better illustrate the construction.
Fig. 3 is a sectional view of the garment shown in Fig. 1.
Fig. 4 is a view in front elevation of the garment shown in Fig. 2, provided with a protective and constraining cover.
Fig. 5 is a plan view of the Figs. 1, 2 and 3 show our invention as incorporated, for purposes of illustration, in a garment, designated as a whole by reference character G, which is adapted to receive and enclose, and to pressurize uniformly, the entire middle and lower portions of a wearers body, viz., each of his thighs and feet and all of his lower torso, to a point or zone well above his waist. For the reception and enclosure of such body parts, the illustrated garment G provides a loose-fitting single wall sheath 1 of suitable flexible material, such as a strong impregnated fabric that is gastight and will not stretch. The sheath 1 as shown has foot-receiving portions 1a at the ends of its two leg-receiving portions 1b, the latter being tubular downward extensions of said sheaths trunk-encircling portion 1c, which is of open substantially annular form at its upper chest-encircling end (see Fig. 3) for the entrance to said sheaths interior of the wearers lower and middle body parts, in his act of donning the garment G, as hereinafter described.
The other essential element of our improved inflatable garment is an inner sleeve 2, composed of material similar to that of sheath 1, said inner sleeve 2 being connected by an airtight seam 9 (Figs. 2 and 3) to the sheath 1 at the latters open upper end, with the sleeve 2 thus extending into the pressure space S between the sheath 1 and the wearers body, so as to encircle his lower torso above the waist. Said inner sleeve 2, unlike the inner wall of a typical two-wall inflatable garment such as shown by the above mentioned Holste and Sellrneyer patents, has no connection other than the single annular seam 9, with the outer enclosing wall or sheath 1 of our garment. Instead, said inner sleeve 2, as shown, is terminated within said pressure space S, preferably well short of the sheaths lower end, and at a point or zone favorably situated to its being urged by the pressure prevailing in said space into close sealing contact with one or more portions of the Wearers body that it surrounds.
In the illustrated preferred embodiment of our invention, said inner sleeve 2, in order to cover any body openings of the wearer, has the form, as shown, of a longwaisted pair of drawers, see Fig. 2, the legs 3 of which are adapted to encircle, above the knees, the upper thighs of the wearer, with the end of each leg 3 terminating in a cuff 4, composed of stretchable material such as sheet rubber. Therefore, when the garment is put on, the wearers feet and knees will pass freely through the cuffs 4 and when the garment is finally positioned to bring the junction seam 9 of sheath 1 and sleeve 2 above the waist, as shown in Fig. l, the cuffs 4 will closely engage the legs of the wearer above the knees where the enlargement of the thighs begins.
The sheath 1 provides a suitable coupling 5, through which air under pressure, after the garment has been donned, is supplied to the space S, for the inflation of the garment. Such inflation has the effect of spacing the sheath 1 from the feet and lower leg portions of the wearer, as well as from the inner sleeve 2, which latter is urged into close and intimate contact with the parts shown in Fig. 4.
wearers lower torso and upper thighs, by the build-up of pressure within the space S. Such pressure therein is exerted against the rubber cuffs, which must be initially snug fitting, causing them to be pressed against the upper thighs, thereby sealing against any escape of pressuremedium from space S at: these locations.
Therefore, when the garment G is inflated, the foot and lower portion of each leg of the wearer is subjected directly to the pressure of the air within the space S, while that portion of the wearers body above the sealing cufis 4 is subjected to this pressure indirectly through the body encircling. flexible sleeve 2. Since the garment parts 1 and 2 are joined together around the circumference of the chest, and sealed, the gas is contained under the desired pressure in the space S, containing the inner sleeve, without loss of pressure and while preventing access of the pressure exerting medium toany body opening.
The fact that sleeve 2 terminates within the space S in the absence of any restraints on its free end by the sheath 1, allows said sleeve 2, when the garment is pressurized, to conform itself readily to all body crevices which are covered thereby, and in doing so to pull the elastic cuffs 4, 4 upwardly, into even more effective sealing engagement with the wearers upper thighs.
In the foregoing description of the pressurized garment shown in Figs. 1, 2 and 3, no reference has been made to any additional clothing to be worn by the aviator, in order to simplify the explanation of the performance of the garment when pressurized. However, it has been found that the utility of the garment under operating conditions can be increased by employing a constraining cover in connection therewith, which performs the dual function of protecting the garment against damage in use and of fitting it properly to the body of the wearer.
Figs. 4 and 5 show a cover C for the garment. G, with this cover providing legs 6 through which the legs of the garment extend, and with the legs 6 terminating above the garments foot portions 1a. The cover C also provides a waist portion 7 to the upper edge of which a belt 8 is attached. It is to be noted that the seam 9 which extends around the upper end of the garment between the sheath 1 and. sleeve 2- is connected to the top of the waist portion 7 of the cover C by means of a slide fastener 10, see Fig. 5. This fastener 10 facilitates donning the garment by making it possible to put on the gas retaining garment G and the fabric restraining cover C, separately.
The waist portion 7 of. the cover C provides a slide fastener 11. at the front which permits the cover to be opened up while putting on the garment. When the feet of the wearer have been received in the foot portions 111, straps 12 at the lower end of each leg are carried beneath the soles of the feet and their ends secured by suitable buckles 13. The straps 12 prevent the foot portions 111 from movingoutward away from. the wearers feet, under pressure, and also maintain the legs 6 of the cover C in. position. The belt 8 is normally fastened by straps 14 and. buckles 15, as shown in Fig. 4, these members being shown unfastened in Fig. 5, in order to better illustrate the construction whereby the seam 9 at the upper end of the garment G is attached to the waist portion 7 of the cover by the fastener 10.
In order that the cover C will closely fit the inflated garment G and exert a constraining. effect, each cover leg 6 provides a pleat 16 extending lengthwise, with a lacing 17 running back and forth across the pleat so that the sides thereof may be drawn together. Thus, the cover C can be adjusted so as to properly constrain the enclosed garment G when the latter is inflated, and to prevent the garment from bulging when the wearer is in a seated position. The cover C will also protect the garment from wear and possible damage.
From the foregoing it is apparent that by the present invention there is provided an improved garment for aviators that is particularly adapted to enclose a selected portion of an aviators body and to subject the entire enclosed portion of the body to the same pressure as the pressure of the gas in the suit, without any leakage of the pressure medium, or access of the medium to any body opening. While for purposes of illustration the garment has been shown as applied to the lower torso and legs of the wearer, obviously the same principle of construction could be employed in connection with a garment for pressurizing other portions of the body, such as the chest and arms.
It is also apparent that a garment such as above described has applications for other than aviators, since the act of applying a positive differential pressure to selected portions of the body in this manner effects circulatory changes and causes displacement of internal organs. Thus, the suit, as described, can be considered effective in the treatment of people afiiicted with blood pressure disorders, cardiac conditions, and other such bodily ailments. Since when the suit is worn and pressurized under normal gravity conditions as indicated above, there is a tendency for the body to be expelled by the suit pressure when it becomes great enough to overcome the weight of the body, non-stretchable, adjustable straps 18, in the form of suspenders, can be attached to the front and back of the suit at the chest, to overcome this, as shown in dotted lines in Fig. 3.
1. In an inflatable garment of the class described, a sheath of flexible gas-tight material for enclosing the lower portion of a wearers body in a loose fitting and pressurized relation, a trunk-encircling opening in said sheath for permitting the entrance of said lower body portion into the interior of said sheath, means for introducing a pressure medium into the interior of said sheath for the inflation thereof, and a flexible gas-tight and body-conforming sleeve extending from said sheath opening into said interior in covering relation to body openings of the wearer, said sleeve beyond said body openings having elastic thigh-encircling terminal portions, unconnected themselves to saidsheath and adapted, in response to the pressure of said sheaths inflation, to create with each of the wearers so-encircled thighs a seal against escape of pressure medium from said interior, and against access of pressure medium to said body openings.
2. In an inflatable garment of the class described, a sheath of flexible gas-tight material for enclosing the lower portion of a wearers body in a loose fitting and pressurized relation, said sheath being closed except for a torso-encircling opening at its upper end for permitting the entrance of said lower body portion to its interior, means for introducing a pressure medium into the interior of said sheath for the inflation thereof, and a flexible gas-tight sleeve connected at one end to said sheath open ing and terminating at its other end within said interior in individual snug encirclements of each of the wearer's upper thighs, thereby to create, in response to the pressure of said sheath's inflation, seals against the escape of pressure medium from said interior and against access of pressure mediumto body openings of the wearer covered by said sleeve.
3. In an inflatable garment of the class described, a sheath of flexible gas-tight material within which the wearers body parts to be pressurized have a relatively loose fit, an opening in. said sheath for permitting the entrance of said body parts into the interior of said sheath, means for inflating said sheath with a pressure medium, and an inner sleeve of flexible gas-tight material having an outer end connected to said sheath at said opening and along, a. gas-tight seam, said inner sleeve having an inner end terminating in an elastic annular portion for snug encirclement of a wearers body part within said sheath, said inner sleeve extending from its outer end to its inner end wholly within said sheath in spaced relation therewith.
4. In an inflatable garment of the class described, a
loose-fitting sheath of flexible gas-tight material, an opening in said sheath :for permitting the introduction into the interior of said sheath of the wearers body parts to be pressurized thereby, said sheath forming a completely closed space around the body parts so introduced, means for introducing a pressure medium into said closed space for inflating said sheath, and an inner body-conforming sleeve of flexible gas-tight material having one end connected to said sheath at said opening along a gas-tight seam, said sheath terminating at its other end in an elastic annular portion for snug encirclement of a body part within said sheath, said inner sleeve extending from its one end to its other end wholly within said sheath and in spaced relation therewith.
5. In an inflatable garment of the class described, an outer sheath of flexible gas-tight material for covering a selected portion of a wearers body in loose fitting relation and for forming with said selected body portion a closed gas-tight space, a body-encircling opening in said sheath for permitting the introduction of said selected body portion into the interior of said sheath and for engaging in close fitting-relation the adjacent annular region of the body portion so introduced, means for supplying a source of pressure to said closed gas-tight space for inflating said sheath, and an inner body-conforming sleeve of flexible gas-tight material located wholly within said sheath for covering a part only of said selected body portion in snug-fitting relation, said sleeve being connected at one end to said sheath along a gas-tight seam at said opening and at its other end terminating in a flexible gas-tight cuff for tightly encircling a part of said selected body portion within said space.
6. In an inflatable garment of the class described, an elongated outer sheath of flexible gas-tight material for covering the lower portion of a wearers body, said sheath being entirely closed except for a trunk-encircling opening at the upper end thereof, means for introducing a pressure medium to the interior of said sheath for the inflation thereof during the Wearing of said garment, and an inner sleeve connected at its upper end to said sheath at said opening along a gas-tight seam, said inner sleeve extending downwardly from said seam wholly within said sheath and in spaced relation therewith and terminating in a pair of flexible thigh-encircling cufis at its lower end.
7. In an inflatable garment of the class described, an outer sheath of flexible gas-tight material having an upper hollow torso portion and a pair of elongated hollow leg portions extending downwardly from the lower end of said torso portion, said sheath being entirely closed except for a trunk-encircling opening at the upper end of said torso portion, an inner sleeve of flexible gas-tight material located wholly within said sheath and spaced inwardly therefrom, said sleeve having an upper end connected to said opening along a gas-tight seam and having at its lower end a pair of depending thigh portions each terminating in a flexible thigh-encircling cuff, and means for introducing a source of pressure to the interior of said sheath.
8. In an inflatable garment of the class described, an inner pant-shaped sleeve of flexible gas-tight material for covering in snug-fitting and gas-tight relation the portion of a wearers body extending from the chest to the thighs, said inner sleeve having a trunk-encircling upper edge and a pair of elastic thigh-encircling cutfs at the lower end thereof, an outer loose fitting sheath of flexible gas-tight material for covering and enclosing the entire lower portion of the wearers body below the chest, said sheath having an upper edge connected to the trunk-encircling upper edge of said inner sleeve along a gas-tight seam, said sheath extending downwardly from said scam in spaced relation to said inner sleeve and said lower body portion, and means for introducing a pressure medium to the interior of said sheath for the inflation thereof.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS