US 3292179 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
D 20, 1966 v. D. IACONO, JR.. ETAL 3,292,179
PROTECTIVE GARMENT Filed May 19, 1964 I 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIGURE 3 INVENTORS Vincent D. Iucono, Jr. Leo A. Spcmo WW.W m!
FIGURE l Dec. 20, 1966 3,292,179
V. D. IACONO, JR. ETAL PROTECTIVE GARMENT Filed May 19. 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIGURE 4 INVENTORS Leo A. Spono /v vw; W W, MM 6%;
FIGURE 2 Vincent D. Iocono,Jr.'.
United States Patent 3,292,179 PROTECTIVE GARMENT Vincent D. Iacono, Jr., Rumford, and Leo A. Spauo,
Cumberland Hill, R.I., assignors to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army Filed May 19, 1964, Ser. No. 368,721 8 Claims. (Cl. 22)
The invention described herein, if patented, may be manufactured and used by or for the Government for governmental purposes without the payment to us of any royalty thereon.
This invention relates to a protective garment and more particularly to an impermeable protective garment through which a gaseous medium is circulated to maintain the wearer in a proper. physiological balance under varying atmospheric conditions.
The protective garment of the present invention is a basic component of a protective clothing system which is designed to isolate the wearer from his external environment and to provide an internal environment in which the wearer can function safely and comfortably. Protective clothing systems are necessary when meteorological conditions are such that normal activity would be difiicult or even hazardous, or when there are present in the environment toxic gases, liquids or solid materials.
There is a requirement for a single protective clothing system that will protect military personnel from the effects of precipitation, wind, and extremes of temperature and, in addition, will furnish protection against chemical and biological agents, radioactive dust and thermal weapons. Such a system must of necessity be lightweight and permit normal movement and activity. Protective systems, heretofore considered, have been too bulky and too weighty, and have been relatively ineflicient in maintaining a satisfactory internal environment. The prior art has attempted to circulate air through protective clothing systems by means of ducts or tubes to regulate the internal temperature and humidity. Such tubes or ducts have proven to be inefficient in that the distribution of air over the body surface is, of necessity, not uniform and would require an excessive branching of the tubes to obtain anything approaching an even distribution of the circulating gas over the surface of the enclosed body. Further, the resistance to the flow of gas through such tubes is relatively high and a relatively large amount of power is required to force the circulating gas through the system against this high resistance. Prior art systems have also been unsatisfactory in removing moisture from within the system because of the inadequate or incomplete internal circulation of air.
These and other deficiencies of the prior art have been overcome by the protective garment of the present invention which provides a unitary, lightweight, stretchable or elastic, multi-layer garment through which air is circulated without resort to tubes or conduits. A further advantage of this garment is that it employs a countercurrent flow of air which functions both to reduce the temperature gradient between the internal and external environment and to purge any toxic gases that may have leaked inboard of the garment before they can contact 1 the body. Counter-current air flow, as the term is used herein, refers to the movement of a first layer of air over the surface of the body in one direction and the movement of a second layer of air external of said first layer in the opposite direction. vided for by this garment results in an increase in velocity and turbulence of the ventilating air passing over the body which, in turn, results in increased efficiency of heat transfer and moisture pickup.
It is, therefore, among the objects of the present in- T he method of circulation pro- I 3,292,179 Patented Dec. 20, 1966 ice vention to provide a protective garment that will enclose the torso and limbs so as to isolate those areas of the body from the external environment.
A further object is to provide a protective garment that is light, flexible, impervious to liquids and gases, capable of maintaining a physiologically optimum internal environment, and does not interfere significantly with normal body movements.
Another object is to provide a protective garment having increased efliciency in internal temperature regulation and in removing water vapor from within the garment.
It is also an object to provide a protective garment that provides an extra margin of safety to prevent inboard leakage of toxic agents when the integrity of the garment has been impaired.
Another object is to provide a protective garment utilizing a gaseous medium to regulate internal environment which garment offers low frictional resistance to the gas flow.
These and other objects of the present invention will be apparent from the following description and the accompanying drawings.
In the drawings:
FIGURE 1 is a front view of the protective garment of this invention.
FIGURE 2 is a rear view of the protective garment of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 3 is a detail view of a portion of the protective garment of FIGURE 1 broken away to show underlying layers and also to show the direction of gas flow.
FIGURE 4 is a portion of a cross-sectional view of the garment of FIGURE 1 taken along lines 44 showing the spatial relationship of the underlying layers and the counter-current fiow of the gas medium.
Referring to the drawings which illustrate a preferred embodiment of this invention, there is shown a stretchable, impermeable garment, designated generally by the numeral 10, which completely encloses the torso and limbs of the wearer. The garment is constructed so as to provide airtight seals about the neck, wrists and ankles of the wearer. An elastic band 11 of impermeable material surrounds the neck opening of the garment and when the garment is worn provides an airtight seal about the neck. Similarly, there are wrist bands 12 and 13 and ankle bands 14 and 15 surrounding the wrist and ankle openings which provide airtight seals at the wrists and ankles.
As shown in FIGURE 1 the protective garment is of one piece design having along the longitudinal center line of the front thereof a zipper fastener 16 which extends from the neck opening to the lower abdomen. The zipper fastener 16 is of the gas or pressure sealing type which, when closed, creates an airtight seal. Such a fastener facilitates both rapid and unassisted donning and removal of the protective garment and insures a foolproof, airtight seal upon closure.
Structurally, the impermeable garment, although of one piece design or construction, is composed of a number of plies or layers of different materials which perform different functions in the garment and which are so arranged as to create two separate passageways for the circulation of air throughout the garment. The two air passageways can be considered to be parallel and completely surround those portions of the body enclosed by the garment. Communication between the separate passageways occurs only at the ankle and wrist extremities as will be apparent from the following description.
The outermost layer 20 of the garment is an elastic, tough material impermeable to liquids and gases and resistant to chemical attack. Example of some materials that are suitable for use as outer layers of the protective garment include but are not limited to butyl, neoprene,
polychloroprene, and polyurethane elastomers, and may also include such elastomeric materials laminated to a stretch-type nylon knitted cloth. The thickness of this outer layer is preferably within the range of 3 mils to mils. Non-elastic materials may be used if there is built into the outer layer, means to permit normal unrestricted movement, as for example, elastic inserts.
The inner liner 21 of the protective garment is a moisture absorbent, highly permeable material and is joined to the outer layer of the garment at the neck, wrist and ankle extremities and along each side of the zipper fastener. The liner is worn against the body of the wearer and absorbs moisture given off by the body and distributes this moisture evenly over the surface of the liner. The extensive surface area of the liner facilitates moisture pick-up by the circulating air and increases evaporative cooling effects. Materials: suitable for use as liners include most porous cotton fabrics, e.g., ribbed, knitted, cotton cloth according to Military Specification MIL-U797C.
Postitioned between the inner liner 21 and the outer layer 20 of the garment is a divider wall or layer 22 of gas-impermeable material, which may be the same material as that constituting the outer layer. The divider wall, which is not as thick as the outer layer may, for example, range in thickness from less than 0.5 mil to more than 3.0 mills, constitutes a common wall separating the space between the inner liner and outer layer into inner 25 and outer 26 air passageways. Referring to FIGURE 4, it can be seen that the divider wall does not quite extend to the extremity of the garment. This shortening of the divider wall occurs around the wrist and ankle openings and permits communication between inner and outer air passageways at the extremities of the garment. The divider wall is fastened to the outer liner around the neck opening and along each side of the zipper fastener.
Because the inner liner, divider wall and outer layer are flexible and not self-supporting it is preferable that means be located within the passageways to keep open and define the size of the passageways. To accomplish each of these objectives a spacer material is inserted within the passageways. For use in the present invention it is desirable that the spacer material be lightweight, flexible, resilient, non-absorbent, stretchable and compression resistant. An example of a material meeting these requirements is a fabric manufactured and sold by U.S. Rubber Company under the trademark Trilock. This material is described in U.S. Patent Re. 24,007 and employs a heat-shrinkable yarn in one of the directions of the fabric. On shrinking, the fabric is caused to buckle more or less in a serpentine fashion forming a three-dimensional, porous structure that exhibits good resistance to compression. The inner spacer 23 located within the inner air passageway and outer spacer 24 located within the outer air passageway meet at the wrist and ankle extremities as can be seen in FIGURE 4 with respect to the ankle extremity. The spacers are attached to the outer liner at the neck, ankle and wrist extremities and along each side of the zipper fastener.
Conditioned or filtered air or an artificial, physiologically suitable, gas mixture is introduced into the suit through one or more inlet ports on the back side of the suit. In FIGURE 2 there are shown two inlet ports 30 which lead into the inner air passageway 25. Means, not shown, are located on said inlet ports to positively lock a conduit or other means through which air would be carried from the air conditioning or air filtering means.
Air conditioning or filtering devices which form no part of the present invention may be either portable devices light enough to be carried by the person enclosed within the protective garment or may be fixed on mobile units to which the person enclosed is connected via flexible tubing. An example of a portable air conditioning device, known in the art, is described in U.S. Patent No. 3,049,896.
In actual operation, conditioned or filtered air is introduced into the garment 10 through each of the inlet ports 30 which communicate with the innerair passageway. Air is forced into the garment, e.g., at a flow rate of 10 to 30 c.f.m., and flows throughout spacer 23 and over the air-permeable liner 21 in the direction of the ankle and wrist extremities. At these extremities, as shown in FIGURE 4, air flows into the outer air passageway and passing through spacer 24 flows in a direction opposite to the direction of flow in the inner air passageway. The air flow in the outer passageway proceeds toward and exits from the suit through exhaust ports 31. Exhaust ports 31 are provided with one-way, pressure valves, not shown, which open when the pressure of the gas Within the suit exceeds a predetermined level, e.g., /2" of water.
While the foregoing described embodiment of our invention utilizes an inner permeable liner of moisture absorbent fabric material, it may be desirable or even preferable for some purposes to eliminate the liner as an integral feature of the protective garment. The innermost layer of the garment would then be the inner spacer 23. It will still be necessary for the wearers body to be covered by a separate, moisture absorbent, permeable liner or undergarment beneath the protective garment in order to facilitate moisture pick-up by the circulating air and to increase evaporative cooling effects resulting from the increased surface area of the undergarment in contact with the body. The advantage resulting from the use of a separate absorbent undergarment is that it permits frequent changes of the liner or undergarment without requiring a complete change of the protective garment.
An alternative construction also within the scope of this invention utilizes a liner as an integral feature of the protective garment, but employs a non-absorbent, permeable fabric as the liner. As before, there would be worn against the wearers body a moisture absorbent, permeable undergarment.
The counter-current flow of air in the garment of this invention has the effect of setting up a butter layer of air between the inner ventilating layer of air and the external or ambient atmosphere. This buffer layer reduces temperature gradients between that of the inner air passage: way and that existing outside of the garment. In addition, should the integrity of the outer layer 20 be impaired, the butfer layer provides an extra margin of safety against any in-board leakage of contaminated gas by sweeping such gas as enters the outer air passageway toward and out the exhaust ports. The divider wall 22 prevents the contaminated gas from contaminating air within the inner air passageway.
If a protective garment were to utilize a single air passageway and vent at the extremities a puncture in the outer liner would result in air flowing from the inlet port to and out the puncture opening with the result that that portion of the body distal to the puncture would receive less air. With the garment of the present invention, on the other hand, a leak in the outer garment would not effect the complete sweep of air through the inner passageway and complete ventilation of the body since the air will still be required to proceed to the extremities in order to enter the outer chamber and escape through the puncture opening.
While a preferred form of the garment of this invention has been described, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to this form, and that changes may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention which is defined in the appended claims.
1. A unitary, multi-layer, impermeable protective garment adapted to inclose the torso, arms and legs of a wearer, with the arm and leg portions of said garment adapted 'to terminate at the wrists and ankles respectively of the wearer and the torso portion of said garment adapted to terminate at the neck of the wearer, and with means surrounding the neck, wrist and ankle openings of said garment which are adapted to form an air-tight seal about the neck, wrists and ankles of the wearer, said garment having an outer gas-impermeable covering, a gasimpermeable divider wall aflixed to and spaced from said outer covering and adapted to be spaced from the body of the wearer forming an inner air passageway extending throughout said garment between said divider wall and the body of the wearer and an outer air passageway similarly extending throughout said garment between said divider wall and said outer covering, said inner and outer air passageways communicating at the wrist and ankle extremities of the garment, air inlet means communicating from the exterior of said garment to the inner air passageway, air exhaust means communicating from the outer air passageway to the exterior of said garment, whereby air is introduced under pressure through said air inlet means into said inner air passageway and caused to flow over the entire surface of the body of the wearer toward the ankle and wrist extremities and thence into the outer air passageway and caused to flow away from the extremities toward and out the air exhaust means.
2. A unitary, multi-layer, impermeable protective garment as in claim 1 wherein said air inlet means and said air exhaust means are located on the torso enclosing portion of the garment.
3. A unitary, multi-layer, impermeable protective garment as in claim 1 having spacer means located within said inner and outer air passageways to define said passageways.
4. A unitary, multi-layer, impermeable protective garment adapted to inclose the torso, arms and legs of a wearer, with the arm and leg portions of said garment adapted to terminate at the wrists and ankles respectively of the wearer and the torso portion of said garment adapted to terminate at the neck of the wearer, and with means surrounding the neck, wrist and ankle openings of said garment which are adapted to form an air-tight seal about the neck, wrists and ankles of the wearer, said garment having an outer gas-impermeable covering, a gaspermeable inner liner joined to said outer covering at the neck, wrist and ankle extremities of the garment, a gasimpermeable divider wall positioned between said inner liner and outer covering creating an inner air passageway that extends throughout said garment between said divider wall and said inner liner, and an outer air passageway similarly extending throughout said garment between said divider wall and said outer covering, said in ner and outer air passageways communicating at the wrist and ankle extremities, air inlet means attached to said garment communicating with said inner air passageway and air exhaust ports communicating with said outer air passageway, whereby air is introduced through said air inlet means under pressure and caused to flow throughout said inner air passageway toward the wrists and ankle extremities whereupon the air enters the outer air passageway and flows in the direction of and finally out of the exhaust ports.
5. A unitary, multi-layer, impermeable protective garment as in claim 4 having spacer means positioned within said outer and inner air passageways to keep said passageways open and wherein said gas-permeable inner liner is moisture-absorbent.
6. A unitary, multi-layer, impermeable protective garment as in claim 4 wherein said outer gas-impermeable covering is flexible and stretchable, said gas-permeable inner liner is flexible, stretchable and moisture-absorbent and said gas-impermeable divider wall is flexible and stretchable, and having, in addition, flexible, resilient, compression-resistant, porous fabric spacers positioned within said outer and inner air passageways to keep said passageways open.
7. A unitary, multi-layer, impermeable protective garment according to claim 6 wherein the air exhaut ports are provided with one-way valves which open when the internal gas pressure exceeds a certain minimum.
8. A unitary, multi-layer, impermeable protective garment according to claim 6 wherein said air inlet and air exhaust ports are located on the torso portion of said garment.
References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,005,569 10/1911 Meir 22.1 X 2,093,834 9/1937 Gaugler. 2,255,751 9/1941 Bancel 128402 X 2,976,539 3/1961 Brown 2-2 3,049,896 8/1962 Webb 128144 JORDAN FRANKLIN, Primary Examiner.
J. R. BOLER, Assistant Examiner.