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Publication numberUS3657515 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 18, 1972
Filing dateAug 21, 1970
Priority dateAug 21, 1970
Publication numberUS 3657515 A, US 3657515A, US-A-3657515, US3657515 A, US3657515A
InventorsNorman E Smith
Original AssigneeWestinghouse Electric Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Diving suit
US 3657515 A
Abstract
Sections of electrically conducting rubber material are joined together to conform generally to a diver's body. Each section includes an edge portion and a flexible electrode near the edge portion with the electrode and conducting rubber being coated with a waterproof electrically insulating material.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent i [i5] 3,657,515 Smith [45] Apr. 18, 1972 [54] DIVING SUIT 1,358,509 1i/1920 Birkenfeld ..219/529 x l 2,478,126 8/1949 Ostby, Jr ..2/2.l R [72] lnvemof- Nma E' Smm" Annapols Md 3,344,385 9/1967 Bancs er ai... ..338/212 [73] Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Pitt- 2,596,327 5/ 1952 COX'CI al "U9/552 X sburgh, pa 2,277,772 3/1942 'Marick ..219/211 2,674,684 4/ 1954 Duncan ..219/527 X [22] Filed: Aug. 2l, 1970 Y Primary Examiner-C. L. Albritton [21] Appl' No" 65987 Attorney-F. H. Henson, E. P. Klipfel and D. Schron [52] U.S. Cl. ..219/211, 2/2.1 R [57] ABSTRACT [51] lnt.Cl. ..1'105b3/00 Sections Ofelectrica" d y con ucting rubber material are Joined [58] Field ofSearch ..219/211, 527-529, together to conform generally to a dver,s body Each section 21g/543 5 3 8 549 552`553; 128/142'5 379 402' includes an edge portion and a flexible electrode near the edge 126/204; 2/2-1; :538/209-212 217-218 223-225 portion with the electrode and conducting rubber being coated with a waterproof electrically insulating material. [56] References Cited To provide a desired unequal heat distribution, one embodi- UNITED STATES PATENTS ment includes a tapering arm (or leg) portion wherein the lt'll dct bb s'l d 2,615,060 10/1952 Marinuce ei ai 33e/330 x tehgkgy co" u mg r er progres we y ec'eases m 2,557,530 6/1951 Bancroft ....338/317 X 3,061,501 10/1962 Dittman et al. ..219/543 X 8 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures POW ER SUPPLY PTENTEUAPH 18 :912

SHEET 10F 2 FIG. 5

WITNESSES INVENTQR Norman E.Sm|h

DCUA MM ATTORNEY BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION l. Field of The Invention The invention in general relates to diving suits, and particularly to an electrically heated diving suit.

2. Description of The Prior Art When divers are exposed to cold water, some form of thermal protection is needed. The most commonly employed method is that of wearing a suit of unicellular neoprene foam. This method is very limited however to a dive of one to two hours duration, depending upon the temperature of the water and the activity level of the diver. For longer exposures or extremely coldwater, auxiliary heat must be provided.

One method of providing heat to a diver employs electrically resistive elements in the form of resistance wire distributed overthe divers body or embedded in the neoprene foam suit. By applying an electrical potential to the resistance wire there results in a current flow and a heat generation dcpendent upon the square of the current times the resistance of the element. One disadvantage in the utilization of electric resistance wires however is the possible breaking of the wires and consequent short circuit, due to repetitive bending. Another disadvantage is the possibility of diver bums due to the high temperature of the wires coupled with a wrinkle in the suit or a pressure against the suit causing the wire to be pressed against the divers skin.

Suggestions have been made heretofore for protecting persons from extremely cold atmospheric temperatures by the provision of an electrically conductive material which generates heat upon the application of electrical energy. One such proposal is set forth in U.S. Pat. No. 2,277,772 which describes an electrically heated wearing apparel such as an aviators suit. Various electrically conductive panels or pads are provided for insertion into an aviators garment. Each of the electric pads is formed of a piece of woven material such as cotton having deposited thereon a sufficient amount of conductive rubber or the like with the conducting sheet so formed being thereafter sandwiched between two protecting sheets of fabric such as cotton.

The resulting garment may be suitable in a high altitude environment however it would be completely inoperable in an underwater environment and may even present a potentially dangerous hazard due to electrical shorting through the ambient water. In addition, in some instances, substantially uniform heating is desired over the entire body of the diver and the apparel described in the patent would not provide such a function.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,344,385 directed to a flexible and stretchable electrode describes an electrically conductive material having an insulating material disposed on the outside thereof. The patent mentions that electrically conducting elastomeric materials of electrically conductive particles suspended in a natural or synthetic rubber carrier have potential applications in fields including clothing. The patent which is directed to the electrodes and which illustrates a rectangular pad suggests a pad insertion arrangement and not a diving suit structure as herein disclosed.

U.S. Pat. No. 2,674,684 describes an electrically heated garment of electrically conductive rubber material and illustrates it in the form of a glove. One electrode is connected at the wrist portion of the glove and another electrode is selectively connected to one of three positions located on the thumb and outer end of the hand portion ofthe glove. Such arrangement would be inoperable in an underwater environment due to the short circuit effect of the ambient water and in addition the current path is established from one electrode to another electrode and this current path would cause localized heating substantially along a line joining the two electrodes, as opposed to distributed heating over the entire hand portion of the wearer.

2 SUMMARY or THE INVENTION A diving suit is provided and is formed of a stretchable electrically conducting material of the type which generates heat when supplied with electrical energy, and is generally conforming to various shapes of the divers body. Electrode means in electrical contact with the material provides a current density through substantially all plied with electrical energy. A waterproof electrically insulating stretchable coating is in contact with, and covers the material and means are provided for connecting the electrode means to source of electric energy.

To provide for a controlled unequal heating, an electrically conductive material is provided which varies in thickness in predetermined manner.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of a diving suit in accordance with the teachings of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a view along line II-Il of FIG. 1 and illustrates a cross-section of an arm portion of the suit;

FIG. 3 is a view along line III-III of FIG. l and illustrates a cross-sectional view ofthe torso portion of the diving suit;

FIG. 4 is a view along line IV-IV of FIG. 3;

FIG. 5 illustrates in cross-section an alternative construction;

FIG. 6 is a view, partially in section, of a portion of the diving suit, and illustrates an alternate embodiment of electrode means;

FIG. 7 illustrates a particular type of heating unit;

FIG. 8 illustrates the heating unit of FIG. 5 for use as a diving suit sleeve; and

FIG. 9 illustrates another embodiment of the diving suit.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT In FIG. l a diver wears the garment l0 which generally conforms to various shapes of the divers body. The garment 10 includes arm portions A, leg portions L, torso portion T and a hood portion H.

For ease of fabrication the garment 10 is preferably comprised of a plurality of sections with each section being joined to at least an adjacent section. By way of example, the arm portion A may be comprised of two sections, a lower arm section 13 and an upper arm section 14 joined together at a seam 15.

The torso portion T may include a plurality of elongated sections such as sections 19 and 20 covering the front of the diver with two additional sections covering the back of the diver. The torso sections 19 and 20 are connected to slide fastener means such as zipper 22 by which a diver may put on and take off the diving suit. Upper arm section 14 of the right arm is joined to the sections of the torso portion at seam 24 and the upper arm section 14 of the left ann is joined to the torso sections at seam 25.

The leg portions L, like the arm portions may be comprised of a lower leg section 30 joined to an upper leg section 31 at seam 32 with the upper leg sections being additionally joined to one another at seam 3S and being joined to the torso portion at seam 37. Similarly the hood portion H may be comprised of one or more sections.

With additional reference to FIG. 2 which is a sectional view along line II-H of FIG. 1, the garment includes a stretchable electrically conducting material 40 of the type which generates heat when supplied with electric energy, such materials being well known to those skilled in the art and one example of which is neoprene rubber having electrically conducting particles such as carbon or silver dispersed therein.

In general, electrode means are provided in electrical contact with the material 40 in a manner to provide a current density through the material when supplied with electric energy. Each section includes an electrode means comprised of first and second elongated flexible metallic conductors such as of the material when supmultistranded silver or cadmium bronze. For example, with respect to lower arm section 13, there is provided first and second conductors or electrodes, El and E2 extending the length of the section. Different sections may be of different thicknesses of material 40 for different quantities of heat generation. y

In order to prevent short circuiting through the water the material 40 has a waterproof electrically insulating stretchable coating 47 in contact with and covering the material 40. Such coating 47 may be for example latex, polyurethane, or butyl rubber to name a few. With the coating 47 covering all of the material 40 prior to fabrication of the garment, there will exist an insulating portion 50 between electrodes El and E2 when first longitudinal edge portion 53 is joined to second longitudinal edge portion 54 to form the section 13 and to define a longitudinal seam 56. As an alternative, the longitudinal edge portions may be joined to an elongated strip of higher flexible nonconducting material to provide for greater suit flexibility.

In order to supply the electrodes El and E2 with electric energy there is provided a junction or terminal box 60 electrically connected to the electrodes El and E2 and being connectable with a source of electric energy 63 which may be a diver carried or remotely located power supply.

Electrodes E1 and E2 may be directly connectable with the junction box 60 or as illustrated in FIG. 1 may be directly connected to respective electrodes El and E2 of upper arm section 14 which in turn are electrically connected with electrodes E1 and E2 of torso section 19 by means of conductors 67 and 68, these two conductors being suitably insulated to prevent short circuiting of electrodes and to insure a substantially uniform current density through the respective sections. Electrical continuity between the various sections of the garment l may be accomplished by a series connection, by a parallel connection whereby each individual section would be directly connected to the junction box 60, or by various combinations of series and parallel connections. In FIG. l, sections 13, 14 and 19 are connected in series, and by means of electrically insulating feeder conductors 72 and 73, electrical connection may be made to the back section of the torso portion T, the back section including torso sections 76 and 77 being illustrated in FIG. 3 which is a sectional view along the line llllll of FIG. l.

Each torso section 19, 20, 76 and 77 includes the stretchable electrically conducting material 40 with the waterproof electrically insulating stretchable coating 47 in contact with and covering the material. Each section includes first and second electrodes El and E2 each being in close proximity to, and extending in the direction of, the respective one of the longitudinal edge portions of the sections. At least one longitudinal edge portion of a torso section is joined to a longitudinal edge portion of an adjacent section to thereby define seams 79, 80 and 81.

To connect various sections to each other or to the terminal box 60 it may be necessary for the electrodes to emerge from their respective sections. One typical way in which this may be accomplished is illustrated in FIG. 4 which is a view along line lV-IV of FIG. 3.

The electrode E2 may be molded in the material 40 with a portion of waterproof insulating jacket 84 extending through coating 47 a short way into the material 40, as at 85, thus maintaining waterproof integrity.

Although the internal structure is not illustrated, the hood portion H and the leg sections 30 and 3l joined together at seam 32 include the same components and may be fabricated from a single panel as the lower arm section 13 or may be fabricated with a plurality of panels similar to the torso portion T.

In FIG. there is illustrated a sectional view similar to FIG. 2 with the exception that the electrically conducting material 40 is cast as an integral unit with first and second electrodes E1 and E2 separated by an electrically insulating portion 50. The outside, or water side of the material 40 is covered by a waterproof electrically insulating stretchable coating 47 as is the inside, or diver side of the material 40. In the case of FIG. 5 there is no outside longitudinal seam.

In order to reduce the heat transfer to the surrounding water medium and in order to increase the heat transfer to the diver, the outside coating designated 47 may be of a thermally insulating material such as butyl rubber and the inside coating designated 47 may be of a relatively thermally conducting material such as neoprene. Such thermally insulating and relatively thennally conducting coatings may also be applicable to the structure illustrated in FIG. 2.

To provide for an even more uniform current density, electrode means may be placed on either side of and in contact with the electrically conducting material. FIG. 6 illustrates one such arrangement.

FIG. 6 illustrates an arm section with portions broken away and includes the stretchable electrically conducting material 40 having the waterproof electrically insulating stretchable coating 47 disposed on the water side and on the diver side of the material 40. The electrode means includes first and second electrodes El and E2, the electrode El being in contact with the material 40 on the water side thereof and electrode E2 being in contact with it on the diver side thereof. Electrically connected to the electrode El are a plurality of flexible conductors 91 which extend circumferentially around the material 40 and which are undulating to accommodate for radial stretching. In a similar fashion electrode E2 has connected thereto a second plurality of flexible conductors 92 positioned to accommodate for radial stretching of the arm section. By means of the arrangement illustrated in FIG. 6 a current path is established between conductors 91 and 92.

In FIG. 7 there is illustrated an electrically conducting material 96 of the type which generates heat when supplied with electric energy for which purpose there is provided electrode means E1 and E2 in electrical contact with the material and extending along respective edge portions 98 and 99 of the material 96.

The material 96 has, at a first portion thereof, a first thickness designated T1, and at another portion thereof a second thickness T2, T1 being greater than T2 whereby when the electrodes El and E2 are connected to a source of electric energy, the material 96 will provide an unequal heat generation along the length L of the material. The thinner portion T2 has greater resistivity and accordingly will provide more heat than the relatively thicker portion T1.

The unit illustrated in FIG. 7 is in the form of a wedge and can be utilized in various instances where unequal heat generation is desired. If, in addition to being electrically conducting, the material 96 were also stretchable, and if thereafter a waterproof electrically insulating stretchable coating were placed over the material, the edges 98 and 99 could be joined to form a section of a diving suit. Such resultant structure is illustrated in cross-section in FIG. 8 depicting an arm portion A and wherein the coating is designated 104. The length L may be of a magnitude approximately equal to a divers arm length with the thicker portion T1 being positioned at the divers upper arm and the thinner portion T2 being positioned at the divers wrist. Since the wrist has a higher surface area per unit mass ratio than the upper arm, heat will be lost from the wrist at a higher rate per unit mass and the arrangement of FIG. 8 will compensate for this relatively higher loss. In addition, the blood is nearer the surface of the diver at his wrist and will therefore be carrying more heat to the fingers where it is needed to maintain manual dexterity.

In various situations where the diving suit is utilized, the bendable joint portions thereof, such as at the elbows and knees, may receive excessive stressing. In FIG. 9 there is illustrated an embodiment of the invention wherein there is provided sections at the elbow joints and sections 112 at the knee joints which sections are of stretchable material but which are not utilized for the generation of heat. The remainder of the suit may be identical to that described in FIG. 1. With the provision of stretchable nonheat generating I claim as my invention:

` l. A diving suit comprising a. a garment of stretchable electrically conducting material adapted to be worn by a diver and generally conforming to various shapes of the divers body, and of the type which generates heat when supplied with electric energy;

b. electrode means in electrical contact with said material and disposed to provide a current density through said material, when supplied with electric energy;

c. a waterproof, electrically insulating stretchable coating in contact with, and covering said material;

d. means for connecting said electrode means to a source of electric energy. l

2. A diving suit according to claim 1 wherein:

a. said garment is comprised of a plurality of section;

b. each said section including said material, said electrode means, and said coating;

c. each said section including a first and second longitudinal edge portion.

3. A diving suit according to claim 2 wherein:

a. each said section is joined to an adjacent section.

4. A diving suit according to claim 2 wherein:

a. said electrode means includes first and second elongated flexible metallic conductors;

b. each said conductor being in close proximity to, and extending in the direction of, a respective one of said longitudinal edge portions.

5. A diving suit according to claim 2 wherein:

a. a longitudinal edge portion of at least one of said sections is joined to a longitudinal edge portion of another of said sections.

6. A diving suit according to claim 2 wherein:

a. a first longitudinal edge portion of at least one of said sections is joined to the second longitudinal edge portion of that same said section.

7. Heated apparel comprising:

a. an electrically conducting material of the type which generates heat when supplied with electric energy;

b. electrode means in electrical contact with said material;

c. said material being elongated and tapering from a thick portion to a thin portion whereby when supplied with said electric energy said material will provide unequal heat generation at said portions;

d. said material forming a sleeve portion of a garment.

8. Heated apparel according to claim 7 wherein:

a. said gannent is a diving suit and which additionally includes;

b. a waterproof, electrically insulating stretchable coating in contact with, and covering said material.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1358509 *Jun 18, 1918Nov 9, 1920Birkenfeld BenjaminElectrically-heated garment
US2277772 *Mar 8, 1941Mar 31, 1942Us Rubber CoElectricallly heated wearing apparel
US2478126 *May 15, 1945Aug 2, 1949Us Rubber CoDiver's suit
US2557530 *Sep 7, 1946Jun 19, 1951Eastman Kodak CoElectric heating element
US2596327 *Jul 11, 1950May 13, 1952Shell DevElectric heater
US2615060 *Aug 14, 1951Oct 21, 1952Gen ElectricCrucible for the purification of molten substances
US2674684 *Apr 23, 1951Apr 6, 1954William H DuncanElectrically heated garment
US3061501 *Jan 11, 1957Oct 30, 1962Servel IncProduction of electrical resistor elements
US3344385 *Jan 4, 1965Sep 26, 1967Dow CorningFlexible resistance element with flexible and stretchable terminal electrodes
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4195619 *Jul 5, 1978Apr 1, 1980Hollen James PApparatus for heating the air and suit of a free swimming diver
US4404460 *Mar 12, 1982Sep 13, 1983Appleton Papers Inc.Controllably heated clothing
US4513197 *Feb 24, 1983Apr 23, 1985Battelle Memorial InstituteHeated seal of resiliently compressible foam for matching the edge of a hollow portion of an article to an irregular surface
US5160828 *Mar 6, 1990Nov 3, 1992The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The NavyElectromagnetic warming of submerged extremities
US5694645 *Apr 2, 1996Dec 9, 1997Triplette; Walter W.Fencing garments made from stretchable, electrically conductive fabric
US5802607 *Oct 20, 1995Sep 8, 1998Triplette; Walter W.Fencing jackets made from electrically conductive threads
US5940879 *Aug 25, 1998Aug 24, 1999Whitehouse; AndrewDiving drysuit having easy entry
US20110191929 *Aug 28, 2009Aug 11, 2011John BickelGarment
Classifications
U.S. Classification219/211, 2/2.16
International ClassificationH05B3/34
Cooperative ClassificationH05B2203/036, H05B3/342, H05B2203/005, H05B2203/003
European ClassificationH05B3/34B