Effects of a novel ice-cooling technique on work in protective clothing at 28 degrees C, 23 degrees C, and 18 degrees C WBGTs

I H Muir, P A Bishop, P Ray
American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal 1999, 60 (1): 96-104
This study tested a new ice cooling system that permits ice cooling system recharge without personal protective clothing removal. Six male volunteers (22.1 +/- 1.2 years) underwent tests with the new ice cooling system (COOL) and without (NOCL) at a moderate work rate (450 W) in three environments of 28, 23, and 18 +/- 1 degrees C wet bulb globe temperature. Walks at 28 degrees C were carried out first with NOCL and COOL counterbalanced, then test order and environment were counterbalanced. At 28 degrees C, mean work time in COOL significantly increased by 37.5 min (188%) over NOCL (p < 0.05). At 23 degrees C mean work time in COOL was significantly increased by 44.3 min (171%) compared with NOCL (p < 0.05). Mean work times at 18 degrees C were not significantly different, although all subjects completed the 120 minutes of work in COOL compared with a mean work time of 109 +/- 20 min for NOCL. During rest, mean reductions in rectal temperature were significantly greater in COOL than NOCL (p < 0.05) at 28 and 23 degrees C. Mean heart rate calculated for the same point in both treatments was significantly lower for COOL at 28, 23, and 18 degrees C (p < 0.05). Thermal comfort rating was significantly different at 18 and 23 degrees C (p < 0.05). This new design seemed to provide comparable cooling to conventional vests and also provides greater practicality for field use. Even in experimental form the suit demonstrated increased productivity due to extended tolerance time.

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