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Space suit technology can protect workers from heatstroke

sortium of six small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from Italy, Belgium and Poland in cooperation with Italian Grado Zero Espace and CIOP-PIB, and coordinated by D'Appolonia.

The cooling apparatus used in the project has been developed by Grado Zero Espace and has already been used successfully in clothing for Formula-1 McLaren mechanics and the Spanish Moto-GP driver, Sete Gibernau. Following a preliminary feasibility and concept validation study supported by ESA's Technology Transfer Programme, the project received financial support from the EC under its CRAFT initiative to reach a pre-competitive stage of development.

Combining three advanced technologies

The Safe&Cool system makes use of three special technologies. Firstly a special 3D-textile structure is used in the thermal and moisture management layer to replace the interliner and moisture barrier of classical three-layered protective clothing.

The materials used in the special 3D-textile structure are hydrophobic thermal comfort fibres to avoid a wet feeling when in contact with the body, combined with hydrophilic fibres to create suction channels to transport moisture away from the skin.

The second technology is the cooling apparatus derived from astronauts' suits. This enables liquid to be circulated through tubing inserted in cavities in the 3D-textile structure, creating 'blood vessels' for heat removal. A water-binding polymer is the third technology and this will be added either as a coating or in the form of a powder dispersed inside the fabrics.

The polymer will absorb and bind excess moisture migrating through the semi-permeable membrane to maintain the temperature below a threshold controlled by the cooling apparatus. If there is a sudden temperature increase, arising from a burn flashover for example, and the cooling system cannot remove heat fast enough from the body, the polymer will release the liquid accumulated, reproducing th
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Contact: Pierre Brisson
pierre.brisson@esa.int
31-071-565-4929
European Space Agency
3-Mar-2006


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