Cooling vests incorporated with phase change materials (PCMs) add extra insulation and restrict sweat evaporation. It is still unclear how much cooling benefit they can provide. The aim of this study was to investigate the torso cooling of the PCM vests in two hot environments: hot humid (HH, 34°C, 75% relative humidity (RH)) and hot dry (HD, 34°C, 37% RH). A pre-wetted torso fabric skin was used to simulate torso sweating on a thermal manikin. Three cooling vests incorporated with three melting temperatures (Tm) of PCMs were tested (Tm = 21°C, Tm = 24°C and Tm = 28°C). They were worn under a military ensemble (total thermal insulation 1.60 clo; evaporative resistance 0.0516 kPaċm2/W), respectively. In a HH environment all the three cooling vests provided effective torso cooling; in a HD environment the cooling benefit was negative. In both environmental conditions, the evaporative cooling was greatly restricted by the cooling vests. The study indicated that when wearing the protective clothing with the relatively low evaporative resistance and when sweat production was high, the cooling vests were effective in a HH environment, but not in a HD environment.
- phase change material
- protective clothing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
- Polymers and Plastics