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Tuesday, Jun 04, 2002

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Garment to keep soldiers cool in hot conditions

Our Bureau


THERE is good news for armed forces personnel who have to work in tanks under very high temperatures. Henceforth, they will be able to work under comparatively cooler working conditions because of the availability of a special type of garment being jointly developed by MECON Ltd and the Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Science (DIPAS).

According to MECON sources, studies have confirmed that soldiers working in high-temperature zones such as tanks run the risk of heat disorders. The physiological mechanism of human body heat dissipation triggers the blood circulatory system, giving rise to increased blood flow and excessive sweating, thereby causing dehydration. If auxiliary cooling is not provided, the sustained dehydration leads to hyperthermia threatening the very life of the soldier. The newly developed device is considered a bold answer to this very common problem.

Based on Peltier's thermoelectric effect, the solid state cooling garment has two main components — a liquid cooled suit embedded with thin silicon tubing in its interior and a cooling unit which cools the liquid and pumps it through the silicon tubing. When chilled water is circulated through the garment worn by the soldier underneath the normal uniform, it absorbs heat from the skin and returns to the cooling unit for re-cooling.

The garment will be able to maintain the body temperature at 33 degree centigrade making the soldier feel comfortable. By reversing the direction of current of the themoelectric cooler, the system can also be used as a body-heating device for soldiers working in freezing zones where the temperature ranges from minus 20 to minus 40 degree centigrade.

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