US 3608091 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Sept. 28, 1971 w, OLSON ETAL 3,608,091
THERMAL FABRICS AND GARMENTS Filed April 26, 1968 INVENTORS MARK 14/. 01.6 ON NEAL A. TRUJZOW EMF/4% AT TOIRNEY United States Patent @flice 3,608,091 Patented Sept. 28, 1971 3,608,091 THERMAL FABRICS AND GARMENTS Mark W. Olson, Allenllale, N.J., and Neal A. Truslow,
Winnsboro, S.C., assignors to Uniroyal, Inc., New
Filed Apr. 26, 1968, Ser. No. 724,492 Int. Cl. A62b 17/00 US. Cl. 22.1 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A fabric construction suited for use in making thermal garments to supply heat to or remove heat from the body of the wearer. The fabric includes woven yarn sections separated by parallel, flexible, plastic fluid-conducting tubes extending in the warp direction, the warp yarns being non-stretchable, and the weft or filling yarns preferably being stretchable and passing over and under each length of tubing in an alternating sequence. When embodied in a garment, the fabric is arranged with the warp yarns and the tubes extending along, and with the filling yarns encircling, the respective body portions which they cover, the use of stretchable filling yarns thereby making the garment adaptable to being worn by persons of different girths. Suitable headers are provided in the garment structure to enable a pump carried by the wearer to circulate the thermal (heating or cooling) fluid through the tubing and an associated thermal conditioning device.
The foregoing abstract is not to be taken either as a complete exposition or as a limitation of the present invention, and in order to understand the full nature and extent of the technical disclosure of this application, reference must be had to the following detailed description and the accompanying drawings as well as to the claims.
This invention relates to thermal garments, and in particular to the type of garment wherein a fluid may be circulated through suitable conduits carried by the garment for heating or cooling the body of the wearer, as well as to fabrics for making such garments.
In many areas of endeavor, both present and contemplated for the future, man is and frequently will be required to traverse and possibly spend substantial amounts of time in a hostile environment in which thermal conditions exist that threaten his comfort, if not his very life. Underwater and space exploration are merely two of such areas. The present invention, thus, is of wide and general utility and application, but for the sake of simplicity, the following description will in the first instance set forth the principles of the invention as applied to the field of underwater activities such as exploration and mapping of oceans, rivers and lakes, the study of marine life forms and habitats, civilian and military sub-surface construction and destruction projects, etc. Other applications will be referred to later on.
Based on both practical experiences and laboratory research, it is by now well known that immersion of an unprotected human being in water at or near freezing is invariably fatal in less than an hour or so and frequently in a matter of minutes, and that even the operations of active swimmers or divers clad in insulating swim suits (generally made of closed-cell cellullar rubber or like material) but without the protection of an exterior temperature-controlling shelter or vessel become severely limited after relatively short time periods in cold Water. In order to effectuate the required conservation of body heat, therefore, especially for purposes of prolonged immersions in cold water, it has heretofore been proposed to incorporate supplemental heating means in the swim suits to enable the combined elfects of the suit insulation, the
supplemental heating and the bodys own (metabolic) heat production to balance the otherwise normally occurring heat loss.
The incorporation of heating means directly into a cellular rubber swim suit has presented tailoring problems, however, and the use of an electrical resistance wire pattern in particular has led to the disadvantage of considera bly stiffening the suit so as to make it not only more difficult to don and doff but also to make the wearer's movements more difiicult, Le. to require a greater expenditure of energy for any given movement of the body, thereby leading to excessive fatigue in relatively shorter periods of time. Electrical resistance heating of such a swim suit to the extent necessary to enable a swimmer to be exposed to water at sub-freezing temperatures for a period of hours has also been found disadvantageous in that the presently available power battery packs capable of fulfilling this goal are considerably heavier and bulkier than can be tolerated in the light of the environment to be encountered, and the actions to be performed therein, by the swimmer.
In lieu of electrical resistance heating, it has also been proposed to utilize hot water heating in conjunction with such swim suits, with the water being heated electrically or chemically and circulated over the swimmers body surface with the aid of suitable tubing arrangements and pumps. The present invention is concerned with the implementation of this proposal.
It is, consequently, an object of the present invention to provide a novel thermal fabric and garment consturction adapted to be used as an undergarment in conjunction with an insulating swim suit and enabling the utilization of hot water heating for the purpose of reducing body heat losses by a swimmer when immersed in cold water for long periods of time.
It is also an object of the present invention to provide such a thermal fabric and garment construction which, when worn by a swimmer under a cellular rubber swim suit, will not interfere with either the flexibility of the suit or the swimmers freedom of movement in the water.
A more general object of the present invention is the provision of such a thermal fabric and garment construction which can be used for either heating or cooling the body of the wearer in various types of adverse thermal environments including others than cold water.
In implementation of the foregoing, it is another object of the present invention is to provide a novel type of thermal fabric structure which includes woven fabric sections separated from one another by a multiplicity of spaced parallel lengths of flexible fluid-conducting tubing extending only in the warp direction of the fabric, the yarns being non-stretchable in the warp direction and preferably stretchable in the filling or weft direction.
Generally speaking, the fabric according to the present invention may be either a square woven or a leno woven construction with the various fluid-conducting tubes, preferably lengths of plastic tubing having an outer diameter on the order of about /a inch and a wall thickness on the order of about 1 inch, extending in the warp direction and being spaced from one another by woven fabric sections, and with the weft or filling yarns passing over and under each length of tubing in a alternating sequence. The non-streatch warp yarns may be made of fibers of such textile materials as polyacrylonitrile, nylon, rayon, polyester, cotton, and the like, the term non-stretch here being used to characterize an absence of, or at most the presence of relatively little, stretchability. By way of contrast, the stretch weft yarns may be made either of naturally or inherently elastic materials such as spandex polyurethane thread, rubber thread and the like, or of mechanically treated (e.g. crimped, false twisted, etc.) yarns of natural or synthetic textile fibers. The tubes may be made of any suitable impervious thermally conductive material, preferably a thermoplastic material such as polyethylene, polyvinyl chloride, polyvinylidene chloride. and the like. In a garment construction, the tubes and the warp yarns of the fabric are oriented longitudinally of the portion or member of the body covered thereby while the stretchable fill yarns extend circumferentially about such body portion, thereby to enable the garment to fit the body of the wearer snugly and to be adaptable for use by persons of different girths, although it will intrinsically be limited to use by persons of about the mine height.
The foregoing and other objects, characteristics and advantages of the present invention will be more fully understood from the following detailed description thereof when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic frontal illustration of a thermal undergarment constructed in accordance with the principles of the present invention, the wearer not being shown for the sake of simplicity;
FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic plan view of a section of the thermal fabric constructed in accordance with the basic principles of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary enlarged plan view of such a fabric with a leno weave type of construction;
FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken along the line 4-4 in FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary enlarged plan view of such a fabric but with a square weave type of construction; and
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 66 in FIG. 5.
Referring now first to FIGS. 2 to 6, according to the basic aspects of the present invention the fabric 10 is a woven structure comprising yarn-formed sections 11 separated from each other by a plurality of flexible plastic tubes 12, the latter extending only in the warp direction of the fabric and being integrally woven into the fabric, with adjacent ones or groups of the filling yarns passing over and under the individual tubes in an alternating sequence. The spacing of the tubes will as a rule be determined by the thermal requirements to be met by the garment to be made from the fabric.
In the embodiment of FIGS. 3 and 4, the fabric, which is there designated 10a, is of the leno weave type with the yarn-formed fabric sections 11a being composed of weft yarns 13 securely locked in place by the crossing pairs of warp yarns 14. Alternatively, in the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6, the fabric, which is there designated 10b, is of the square weave type with the yarn-formed fabric sections 11b being composed of weft yarns 15 and warp yarns 16. In either case, it will be seen, the weft yarns (singly or, if desired, in groups) pass over and under each of the tubes 12 in an alternating sequence, an arrangement which can be readily achieved with conventional weaving equipment. As previously mentioned, for use in a garment the weft yarns will generally be stretchable and the warp yarns non-stretchable.
Referring now to FIG. 1, the thermal garment 17 there shown is an undergarment constructed of appropriately shaped sections of the fabric 10, which may be either of the leno woven type 10a of FIGS. 3 and 4 or of the square woven type 10b of FIGS. 5 and 6, suitably combined to enable the garment to be worn by a human being. Thus, the garment has a headpiece 17a open at the front, a shoulder and neck section 17b arm sleeves 17, a body or trunk section 17d, and leg sections 17c terminating in foot sections 17]. It should be noted that although a contoured garment is illustrated in FIG. 1, pro duction considerations, universal fitting requirements, and other factors may make it advisable to make the garment of a straight box type construction. The garment also will usually have an access opening (not shown) in the back of the body section 17:! equipped with a conventional closure (not shown) such as a zipper, buttons or snaps, or
the like. The arrangement of the tubes 12 in the various garment portions, to be more fully described presently, is indicated at 12a to 12f.
As will be readily understood, in order for the garment to fit bodies of different girths snugly, the orientation of the stretchable weft or fill yarns of the fabric in each component part; of the garment must extend generally circumferentially of or around the respective portion of the body or torso of the wearer to be covered thereby, with the non-stretchable warp yarns and the tubes extending generally lengthwise of or along such body portions. The garment in terms of width thus will be made to be somewhat undersized with respect to the smallest, i.e. least thick, body on which it will be worn, although, as previously mentioned, in terms of length it will have to be limited for use by persons within a relatively small range of height differences.
The fluid handling system of the garment, of course, must include means for circulating the fluid through the tubes 12. To this end, the garment is provided with an inlet header or manifold 18 for receiving the fluid from a pump-equipped heating device (not shown) carried by the wearer and for distributing the fluid to the various outgoing tubes (designated by arrows pointing away from the manifold 18), with a return header or manifold 19 for receiving used fluid from the return tubes (designated by arrows pointing toward the manifold 19) for recirculation through the heating device, and with suitable transfer headers 20 and 21 at the wrist ends of the sleeves 17c and the sole ends of the foot sections 17 respectively, for transferring the fluid from the outgoing to the return tubes. As will be understood, since the fabric construction according to th present invention is such as to hold the tubes snugly against the body of the wearer, direct heat transfer from the circulating fluid to the body by conduction is assured. It is contemplated that the gloves which the swimmer will have to wear will be porous, which will permit flushing a small percentage of the heating fluid over the hands and dissipating it into the surrounding body of water, and to this end the headers 20 are provided with glove flooding connections 22 at the wrist ends of the sleeves.
Neither the specific header constructions nor the specific heating and pumping system for the circulating fluid, it should be noted, constitute parts of the present invention, and thus they will not be more fully described or illustrated herein, the only requirements to be observed in respect to the headers being that the headers must be as flexible, stretchable and conformable as any other section of the garment and that they must be able to cooperate with the tubes to ensure adequate fluid flow and heat distribution to the various parts of the body.
The present invention leads to a further advantage in that, with the fabric utilized in the form of an undergarment, it is possible for the swimmer to wear it as a separate item under a foam or cellular rubber insulating swim suit, such as hereinbefore described, without having the flexibility of the swim suit hampered in any way as it would be by the incorporation of heating means directly in its structure. Moreover, manufacturing difficulties and high costs which are inherent in the operations of incorporating the heating means in the swim suit structure and of producing a swim suit from sections of such composite structure are now completely avoided.
Although the principles of the present invention have so far been described as applied to the provision of a heating wet suit undergarment for swimmers, such heating undergarments may find use in other dry suit activities, for example as combat clothing in arctic military operations, survival suits for astronauts and aircraft pilots, etc. In this connection, the warp yarns, when intended for dry suit applications, should also be characterized by high moisture absorption properties, so that while being kept in intimate contact with the body surface by the action of the stretchable weft yarns, the warp yarns are able to act as wicking agents for removing perspiration from the body, thereby minimizing a possible source of discomfort to the wearer. The same principles may, of course, also be applied to the provision of cooling undergardments for astronauts, military personnel in tropic and jungle ground force operations, operators of steel furnaces and like industrial installations, etc.
It will be understood that the foregoing disclosure of preferred embodiments of the present invention is for purposes of illustration only, and that the various structural and operational features disclosed may be modified and changed in a number of ways none of which involves any departure from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined in the hereto appended claims. Thus, both the warp and Weft yarns may be nonstretchable wherever adaptability of size is not required, for example, when the fabric is to be used as a heating or cooling blanket for either human beings or inanimate obiects under adverse environmental conditions.
Having thus described the invention, what We claim and desire to protect by Letters Patent is:
1. A thermal fabric, comprising a plurality of woven fabric sections, and a plurality of inwoven flexible lengths of tubing each separating two adjacent woven fabric sections from, one another, said lengths of tubing being adapted to conduct a circulating thermal fluid and extending in one direction of the fabric only, some of the yarn in said woven fabric sections extending transversely to said lengths of tubing and passing over and under each length of tubing in an alterating sequence.
2. A thermal fabric according to claim 1, said woven fabric sections having a leno weave structure.
3. A thermal fabric according to claim 1, said woven fabric sections having a square weave structure.
4. A thermal fabric, comprising a plurality of woven fabric sections having warp and weft yarns, and a plurality of inwoven flexible lengths of tubing each separating two adjacent woven fabric sections from one another, said lengths of tubing being adapted to conduct a circulating thermal fluid and extending in the Warp direction only, the warp yarns being relatively nonstretchable, the Weft yarns being relatively highly stretchable, and said Weft yarns passing over and under each length of said tubing in an alternating sequence.
5. A thermal fabric according to claim 4, said woven fabric sections having a leno weave structure.
6. A thermal fabric according to claim 4, said woven fabric sections having a square weave structure.
7. A thermal fabric according to claim 4, said Warp yarns further being possessed of good moisture absorp tion properties.
8. A thermal garment having a plurality of bodycovering portions, each of said body-covering portions being made of a thermal fabric comprising a plurality of woven fabric sections having a warp and weft yarns, and a plurality of inwoven flexible lengths of tubing each separating two adjacent fabric sections from one another, said lengths of tubing being adapted to conduct a circulating thermal fluid and extending in the warp direction of the fabric only, the weft yarns of said thermal fabric passing over and under each length of tubing in an alterating sequence, and each of said body-covering portions being formed so that the associated lengths of tubing and the intermediate warp yarns in each respective bodycovering portion in normal use extend generally along said respective body-covering portion.
9. A thermal garment according to claim 8, said warp yarns in said thermal fabric being relatively non-stretchable, and said weft yarns being relatively highly stretchable and in each body-covering portion extending generally circumferentially of the respective body-covering portion.
110. A thermal garment according to claim 9, said warp yarns further being possessed of good moisture absorption properties.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,096,816 10/1937 Lilley 161-77X 2,111,108 3/1938 Bolyard l6l-91X 2,657,396 11/1953 Klein et a]. 2-81UX 2,679,677 6/1954 Crandall 161-90 3,392,405 7/1968 Ritzinger 2-2.1
FOREIGN PATENTS 29,349 12/1904 Great Britain 161-139 JORDAN FRANKLIN, Primary Examiner G. H. KRIZMANICH, Assistant Examiner