US 3744053 A
Liquid loop garments provide thermal protection to the body of a user in hostile temperature environments. First and second superimposed liquid impervious, yieldable sheets are secured together at selected portions to form liquid barriers at preselected positions between the first and second sheets. The barriers and sheets define adjacent liquid channels which act to direct flow of a heat transfer medium passed into the garment. Inlet and outlet manifolds are each connected with a plurality of the channels so that heat transfer liquid can be passed into an inlet valve and distributed over the body of an individual with efficient control of temperature variations in the garment. The garment is particularly useful as an underwater diver's heating suit to protect divers from extreme cold environments normally encountered at depths.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Parker et al.
[111 3,744,053 July 10, 1973 LIQUID LOOP GARMENTS [7 3] Assignee: Sanders Nuclear Corporation,
22 Filed: Feb. 11, 1970 21 Appl. No.: 10,472
 U.S. Cl 2/2.l R, 2/82, 165/46  Int. Cl. B63c ll/02  Field of Search 2/2, 2.1 R, 2.1 A, 2/81, 82; 128/400, 142.5; 257/306; 165/46  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,930,594 3/1960 MacCracken 257/306 1,726,939 9/1929 Anderson 2/2 X 3,523,301 8/1970 Davis et a1. 2/2.1 A 3,391,405 7/1968 Wiswell 2/2.1 R 3,521,628 7/1970 Piel 128/1425 3,452,812 7/1969 Betts 165/46 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 577,101 5/1946 England 2/2.1 R
1,188,740 3/1959 France 2/2.l R 1,420,473 11/1965 France 2/2.l R 1,115,414 5/1968 England 2/2.1 A
Primary Examiner-Jordan Franklin Assistant Examiner-George H. Krizmanich Attorney-Louis Etlinger  ABSTRACT Liquid loop garments provide thermal protection to the body of a user in hostile temperature environments. First and second superimposed liquid impervious, yieldable sheets are secured together at selected portions to form liquid barriers at preselected positions between the first and second sheets. The barriers and sheets define adjacent liquid channels which act to direct flow of a heat transfer medium passed into the garment. lnlet and outlet manifolds are each connected with a plurality of the channels so that heat transfer liquid can be passed into an inlet valve and distributed over the body of an individual with efficient control of temperature variations in the garment. The garment is particularly useful as an underwater divers heating suit to protect divers from extreme cold environments normally encountered at depths.
9 Claims, 9 Drawing Figures EAIENTEDJUL 10 19% SHEETIGFS INVENTORS EUGENE K. PARKER KENNETH E. MAYO DOUGLAS 6. HARVEY ATTORNEY PATENTEDJUL mma SHEET 2 0f 5 INVENTORS EUGENE K. PARKER KENNETH E. MAYO DOUGLAS G. HARVEY BY Maw ATTORNEY PAIENTEBJULIOIBH 3.744.053
' sum am 5 I i i i 4 1 INVENTORS 21 EUGE ARK R F/G.6. NE E KEN N ETH E. MAYO DOUGLAS GQ HARVEY ATTORNEY PAKNIEBJM 10 ma SHEET VHF 5 INVENTORS EUGENE K. PARKER KENNETH E.MAYO
DOUGLAS (3. HARVEY BY 6 a ATTORNEY PAIENIEuJuL 1 0 ma m s or 5 IN VE N TORS EUGENE K. PARKER KENNETH EMAYO V DOUGLAS GZHARVEY BY 0 AT TORNE Y LIQUID LOOP GARMENTS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Thermal protection of the body of man in hostile environments such as the numbing and lethal cold found at underwater depths has long been a problem. Various underwater garments and complete suits for divers have been devised. Known divers suits include the use of flexible rubber tubes which are positioned in a continuous loop in a suit with a heating liquid passed therethrough. Such suits often do not adequately provide for the variation in inlet fluid temperature to outlet fluid temperature causing some areas of the body to be heated to significantly greater extents than other areas of the body. The problems encountered with known underwater divers suits further include making necessary provisions for good temperature control, minimized weight, ease and efficiency of manufacture and comfort to the wearer in use.
An important object of this invention is to provide a liquid loop garment for thermal protection at hostile temperature conditions.
Another object of this invention is to provide a garment in accordance with the preceding object which does not unnecessarily impede the movements of the body and which provides comfort in use.
Another object of this invention is to provide a garment in accordance with the preceding objects which is constructed to have controlled heat transfer liquid flow velocity and good heat distribution.
Another object of this invention is to provide a garment in accordance with the preceding objects which can be efficiently manufactured and which is effective to provide required thermal protection under a variety of different conditions.
Still another object of this invention is to provide a garment in accordance with the preceding objects which permits a heat transfer liquid to flow in alternative channels upon flexure of the joints of the body in use thereby preventing blockage of flow and providing close to normal heat distribution under all conditions of use.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION According to the invention, a liquid loop garment for thermal protection in hostile temperature environments substantially conforms to the contours of a body portion over which it is to be used. The garment comprises first and second liquid impervious yieldable sheets with one sheet overlying the other in superimposed relationship. Selected portions of the first sheet are secured to selected portions of the second sheet to form liquid barriers at preselected positions between the first and second sheets. The barriers and the sheets define adjacent liquid channels which act to direct flow of a heat transfer medium passed into the garment. An inlet manifold is interconnected with a first plurality of the channels and an outlet manifold is interconnected with a second plurality of the channels whereby heated liquid can be passed to the inlet manifold and distributed over'the body of an individual with efficient control of temperature variations in the garment.
Preferably the barriers are formed along sealed lines. In the preferred embodiment, selected ones of the sealed lines are discontinuous to form short circuit heat transfer liquid flow paths on flexure of the undergarment at predetermined positions corresponding to flexure points on a body with which the undergarment is used. In the preferred embodiment, arm sections, leg sections and a torso section are formed as an integral suit and a stretch material is incorporated at flexure points of the body.
In alternate embodiments of the invention, the garment is formed with a number of portions interconnected with each other in order to increase versatility for use with varying sized individuals.
It is a feature of this invention that the garments are comfortable to use allowing flexibility and flexure at joint areas of the body.
Another feature of the invention is ease of donning and removing the garment from the body. The use of sheet materials with barriers formed therebetween is extremely important to permit predetermined control of flow velocity and better heat distribution. The garments are preferably designed to cover all of the muscled areas of the body and act as a shield so that the body over which the garment is worn never feels the effect of heat loss to an outside environment.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The above and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be better understood from a reading of the following specification in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a semidiagrammatic front view of a preferred embodiment of a liquid loop garment in accordance with this invention;
FIG. 2 is a side view thereof;
FIG. 3 is a rear view thereof;
FIG. 4 is a partial perspective broken away view of an element thereof;
FIG. 5 is a perspective front view of the manifold section thereof;
FIG. 5A is a cross sectional view through line SA-SA thereof;
FIG. 6 is a diagrammatic showing thereof; I
FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of an alternate embodiment thereof; and
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary front perspective view of still another embodiment thereof.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS With reference now to the drawings, a preferred embodiment of the liquid loop garment of this invention is illustrated generally at 10 in the form of an underwater divers heated suit in FIGS. 1-3. The divers suit 10 has an integral body section 11, leg sections 12 and 13 and arm sections 14 and 15. Two hand sections 16 (both of which are identical, only one being illustrated) and a separate head section 17 act in conjunction with the integral portion of the suit to form a complete garment. Each of the sections conform closely to the contours of an underlying body of an individual when in use.
The basic component of the garment 10 which forms the liquid loop for a heat transfer liquid is best illustrated in FIG. 4. An outer sheet 20 overlies and is superimposed over an inner sheet 21 with the outer sheet being sealed to the inner sheet at facing surfaces thereof along lines 22 to form liquid flow channels 23 substantially adjacent each other. The sheets 20 and 21 are preferably formed of a yieldable, flexible sheet material such as an acrylic impregnated nylon cloth which has substantial physical strength and is impervious to the heat transfer liquid in the channels 23. The specific material of the sheets 20 can vary considerably.
Preferably the sealed lines 22 are formed by conventional heat or solvent sealing methods which include the use of ultrasonic welding methods. The heat sealed lines effectively provide barriers to direct liquid flow within the suit in accordance with predetermined requirements. The channels 23 formed provide soft broad liquid flow passageways preferably substantially in elliptical cross section which offer low flow resistance and minimum constriction at jointed areas corresponding to flexure areas of the body. Since the original sheets used can be sealed as desired, flow velocities of the liquid in the garment can be predetermined by predetermining the size of the various channels as required for body use. Thus, the cross sectional area of the channels at extremities of the body as in the foot section may be narrow and be smaller than the cross sectional area of flow channels at the main torso portion as suggested in FIGS. 1-3.
Preferably the barriers formed by the sealed lines 22 are arranged to provide for alternate flow paths in at least some adjacent channels as indicated by the arrows shown in FIGS. 1-3.
Short circuit paths for liquid flow of the heat transfer medium are provided at selected points in the suit where flexure is likely in operation and use by a wearer. For example, at points 25, 26, 27 and 28 corresponding to the ankle, knee, shoulder and forearm or elbow, portions of the garment. These short circuit paths normally restrict flow of liquid from one adjacent channel to another but are designed to be such that they allow liquid flow if an adjacent channel is blocked as by flexure of the knee or some other flexure point on the body in use. Thus, temporarily short circuit flow paths are established to enable regions of the suit to continue to provide a close to normal heat distribution path. Short circuit paths are provided by spacing ends of the heat sealed lines 22 as diagrammatically shown so that the gaps formed between ends of the lines are small and restrict fluid flow under normal pressure but permit flow when pressure in adjacent channels increases due to blocking off of the channels. For example, at the paths shown at 26, the heat sealed lines 22a and 22b provide a gap therebetween of approximately one-half inch which will allow liquid flow circulation above the knee at times when bending of the knee, in this example, restricts flow along the longitudinal passages and then enables the restoration of longitudinal flow when there is no constriction in the channel.
The channels are designed so that an inlet manifold 30 is formed at the waist with a similar outlet manifold 31. Each manifold isprovided with a quick disconnect fitting 32 and 33 of a conventional type to permit connection of liquid-carrying hoses. The liquid-carrying hoses provide a heated fluid to the inlet 30 and remove liquid constantly through outlet 31 as is known in conventional liquid loop diving suits. Auxiliary heating means (not shown) in the form of a back pack or other supplementary means of providing warm fluid as is known in the art can be used to heat and circulate the liquid.
The hand and head sections 16 and 17 are formed in the same manner as the main torso section and are connected thereto by tubing 40, 41 through quick disconnects 42, 43 and hoses 44, 45 interconnected with quick disconnects 46 and 47 at the rear neck portion of the suit. As indicated by the arrows shown, hoses and 44 are inlet hoses to the remote sections while hoses 41 and are outlet hoses which enable liquid flow throughout the entire suit to be continuous from the single main suit inlet 30.
In some cases, the garment 10 need not be used in conjunction with the hand and head sections if desired.
Stretch panels of stretch material such as Lycra or other two-way stretch fabrics are positioned between separated portions of the suit at critical areas to allow for comfort and extreme flexibility of the garment in use as well as case of donning and removing the garment from the body. In the preferred embodiment, Lycra textile materials are inserted between separated portions of the garment at the knee sections 44, foot sections 45, in seam sections 46, waist manifold sections 47, side seam sections 48 and neck and shoulder sections 49 as best seen in the Figures. Similarly, stretch materials are provided at the front, center and rear of the head section as shown in the Figures as well as the cuff portions of the hand sections.
In the preferred embodiment, a zipper 50 extends from the neck portion to the waist and forms the single fastening element used in the preferred embodiment. The use of the zipper in conjunction with the stretch portions greatly facilitates use of the suit.
As shown by the arrows in the Figures, the channels are arranged and joined to the inlet and outlet manifolds and to each other in such a manner as to provide desired liquid flow of the heated heat transfer liquid. Articulation of the individual wearing the suit is not substantially restricted and flexure does not cause a stoppage of flow of the heat transfer liquid.
The inlet and outlet manifolds are formed by an additional sheet 20a as previously described and as shown in FIGS. 5, 5A and 6. Heated water enters the manifold at point A. The water travels both to left and right circumferentially around manifold 30. The water travels up channels 1, 4, 5, and 7 to return down channels 2, '3, 6 and 8. Note that 2, 3, 6 and 8 cross under manifold 30 and the water from 2, 3, 6 and 8 enters manifold 31, travels circumferentially around manifold 31 and exits via point B. Also, water that enters point A and travels circumferentially around manifold 30 travels down channels 1a, 4a and channels at back of legs (not shown) to return up 2a, 2a and channels at back of legs (not shown), i.e., heated water traveling downward (to legs of suit) from manifold 30 passes through passages that pass behind or under (when viewing suit from without) manifold 31. The return flow from legs and torso exits at point B. Thus, the manifolds provide for openings to the channels where indicated by the arrows sothat water flow in the manifold travels about the body and is directed to the channels as indicated. In some cases, other conventional manifold means can be used if desired.
In the preferred embodiment 10, the garment does not have inner or outer coverings other than sheets 20 and 21. This garment can be used under a conventional diver's wetsuit or dry suit. In other embodiments such as suggested in FIG. 4, foam rubber such as close cell neoprene layer 20a can be formed as a flexible outer layer over the outer sheet 20 and integrally joined to the sheet 20 to provide additional heat insulating value. Similarly, an inner flexible layer 21a of a noninsulating fabric can be attached to the inner sheet 21 so that an integral suit is formed useful as the sole protective clothing used by a diver. However, it is possible for the diver to wear conventional textile underwear and an outer neoprene or other insulating suit over the garment as desired.
It should be noted that the use of tubes such as 40, 41 44 and 45 joining individual sections such as the main body section, hands and head is useful to provide continuous flow of fluid in all of the sections while allowing complete articulation at the joints and enhancing ease of donning and removing the suit from the body of an individual.
The specific liquid flow rates through the suit as well as temperatures of the heat transfer medium used can vary greatly depending upon the temperatures expected to be encountered.
Turning now to an alternate embodiment of the invention, as best illustrated in FIG. 7, the principles of the suit 10 are used; however, the suit is formed in five sections comprising the torso section 61, arm section 62 and 63 and leg sections 64 and 65 each having inlet and outlet manifolds as at 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72 and 73. The liquid flow channels are arranged as shown by the arrows indicated and the suit is formed of sheets 20, 21 sealed together at lines 22 as previously discussed. Stretch material is used at preselected portions of flexure of the body as previously described and shown at 74. The main body torso carries a zipper 75 to open the body portion when required. Suitable tubes 76 interconnect portions as described with respect to the suit 10 of FIGS. 1-3.
A third embodiment of an underwater divers suit is illustrated at 80 in FIG. 8 wherein the suit is made up of hand section 81, forearm section 82, upper arm section 83, body section 84, foreleg portion 86, upper leg portion and foot portion 87. Although only one-half of the suit is illustrated, the opposite side of the body comprises similar sections as will be described. Each of the sections of the suit are formed from sheets such as 20 and 21 sealed together along lines to form channels for heat transfer liquid flow as described with respect to garment 10. In this embodiment, no short circuit paths are necessary since each section ends at a point corresponding to a flexure point of the body. Therefore no section of the suit is subjected to severe flexure which would tend to restrict flow channels during normal articulation of an individual wearing the suit. Main inlet and outlet manifolds as previously described are illustrated at and 91 with continuous flow to all sections of the suit maintained through inlet and outlet hoses 92 and 93 respectively joining each section at flexure points of the body. Preferably supplementary inlet and outlet manifolds such as 30 and 31 are formed at each end 93 and 95 of each section to maintain desired distribution of heat in the suit.
The channels can have flow patterns as described with regard to embodiments 10 or 60 or the flow patterns can vary as desired in each section. In this embodiment, the cross sectional areas of selected ones of the channels are different from the cross sectional area of selected other ones of the channels as previously described with respect to embodiment 10 in order to predetermine desired heat transfer liquid flow rates and.
ticular uses In all cases, sealed lines are formed between superimposed sheets as desired to maximize liquid flow channels in a thermal protection garment and the channels formed are of selected sizes at selected areas of the body to provide desired fluid flow. Thus, by this invention, a laminated, tubulated, articulated liquid loop garment is provided which has soft, broad liquid flow passages offering low resistance, minimum constriction at jointed areas and assurance against liquid flow stoppage at jointed areas. Preferably water flow barriers are combined with the liquid loop tubulation manifolds above and below major joints of the body with the flow barriers inhibiting free circulation of pumping liquid outside the liquid loop garment and providing liquid interfaces between the skin and outer covering garment to reduce heat transfer at right angles to the skin while providing a soft, pliant and comfortable garment to wear. Sectionalized garments can be used to enhance versatility in use and minimize replacement costs as well as providing for standardization and interchangeability of parts to suit the proportions of different users thus greatly enhancing utility, effectiveness and economy of providing thermal protection in such applications as diving in cold water, exposure to Arctic air, working in refrigerated rooms and the like. Moreover, thermal protection can be provided by the use of a cooling heat transfer liquid in the suit if desired as in extremely hot environments which might be encountered in fighting fires and the like.
What is claimed is:
1. A liquid loop garment for thermal protection in hostile temperature environments, said garment constructed and arranged to conform substantially to the contours of a body portion over which it is to be used,
said garment having integral arm sections, leg sections and a torso section and comprising,
a first liquid impervious yieldable sheet,
a second liquid impervious yielding sheet overlying said first sheet, said first and second sheets being of a material such that said sheets can be sealed to each other,
selected portions of said sheets having spaced sealed lines of securement to form liquid barriers along said sealed lines at preselected positions between said first and second sheets,
said barriers and sheets defining adjacent liquid channels which act to direct flow of a heat transfer liquid passed into said garment,
selected ones of said sealed lines being discontinuous to form short circuit heat transfer liquid flow paths on flexure of said garment at the elbow and knee areas thereof,
an inlet manifold interconnected with a first plurality of said channels and an outlet manifold interconnected with a second plurality of said channels whereby heat transfer liquid can be passed to said inlet manifold and distributed over the body of an individual with efficient control of temperature variations in said garment.
2. A liquid loop garment in accordance with claim 1 wherein said garment defines integral arm sections, leg sections and a torso section.
3. A liquid loop garment in accordance with claim 2 and further comprising hand sections, a head section and flexible tubing interconnecting said sections with said manifolds.
4. A liquid loop garment in accordance with claim 1 wherein said overlying sheets are separated at areas corresponding to flexure areas of a body and a stretch material spans said areas joined to edges of said sheets to permit free articulation of said garment by an individual.
5. A liquid loop garment in accordance with claim 1 and further comprising a third liquid impervious sheet comprising a portion of said inlet and outlet manifolds, said manifolds defining interconnecting passageways to selected ones of said channels.
6. A liquid loop garment in accordaNce with claim 1 wherein said inlet and outlet manifolds are formed in part by a third liquid impervious sheet and said manifolds extend adjacent each other and transversely about the torso section of said garment,
said first and second overlying sheets being separated at areas corresponding to certain flexure areas of the body with a stretch material spanning said areas and joined to edges of said first and second sheets to permit free articulation of said garment by an individual.
7. A liquid loop garment in accordance with claim 1, and further comprising a thermal insulating material attached to one of said sheets.
8. A liquid loop garment in accordance with claim 6 wherein said garment defines integral arm sections, ,leg sections and a torso section, separate hand sections, a head section and flexible tubing interconnecting with said inlet and outlet manifolds.
9. A liquid loop garment in accordance with claim 1 wherein the cross sectional area of selected ones of said channels differs from the cross sectional area of selected other ones of said channels.