Posted on December 03, 2015
In our earlier discussions, we went over heat stress and two possible prevention options provided by TechNiche International (HyperKewl Evaporative Cooling and Cool Pax Phase Change Cooling). I would like to discuss these two technologies in greater detail and review how they are best utilized and why they matter.
HyperKewl Fabric is designed to absorb and hold water and then slowly release it through evaporation. It is the only fabric of its kind specifically developed to be used in garments for personal cooling. Our unique HyperKewl fabric absorbs, stores and releases water within a multi-layered structure.
We usually combine a water proof layer on the inside and a breathable fabric on the outside. Water held by the HyperKewl fabric is released through evaporation and a chill effect is produced. We look at it as supercharging the body's natural cooling process. Humans sweat, this sweat then evaporates on the skin, cooling the individual. By using our HyperKewl fabric in a multi-layered structure, we have been able to surround you with water, stored in the HyperKewl garment, that then evaporates to cool you off, while you stay dry.
HyperKewl is a drapeable fabric that evenly absorbs water throughout the fabric so that there is no odd sausage like swelling of the garment. These unique properties make it possible to produce hats, vests, shirts etc that look like any other garment when activated.
Users can expect the HyperKewl fabric to provide temperatures that are 10-15 degrees (F) cooler than the ambient temperature, depending on airflow, humidity and other environmental conditions. This temperature variance is felt most keenly on the skin. Your skin is cooler than the outside temperature and so you then feel cooler. HyperKewl fabrics do not "cool the core", but do cool the skin for maximum comfort. Please be aware that no evaporative cooling based garment cools the core as this would involve modifying your core body temperature, and evaporative cooling is not powerful enough to do this.
HyperKewl is best used in dry climates. Its effectiveness becomes diminished when humidity starts passing 80%. It will still work past 90% humidity but you will need significant airflow such as found when riding a motorcycle.
How to Use It - HyperKewl
I think that one of the best features of HyperKewl is how easy it is to activate and use. Soak the garment in water for 2mins, gently squeeze it out, and put it on. Its that simple. Now there are certainly more tricks of the trade. For example, when I use my 6201 KewlShirt when playing soccer, I will often place it in the fridge for 15-20 mins to get an extra chill effect that lasts 15-20 mins. Great for really hot days. Sometimes I will pour cool water on it at half time to help the cooling effect. You have to remember though that this chill effect only lasts about 20mins and though you may feel warmer once the chill effect wears off, the HyperKewl garment is still cooling you to a temperature below the ambient temperature.
HyperKewl garments are technical garments and should be managed as such. They are tools that can help to keep you comfortable and safe like shinguards or hard hats.
Sports Medicine has struggled for years trying to find a way to cool athletes while they warm up, during competition and after competing. Many studies have proven that pre-cooling and post cooling during competition improves performance (more to follow during our Cool Pax discussion). No one has been able to test the effects of cooling during the competition, until now. The first study we know of was done by Dr. Thijs Eijsvogels of the Department of Physiology at Radboud University in The Netherlands. This study found that cooling during competition using our HyperKewl Ultra Vest kept the skin cooler and the athlete more comfortable and alert. Further studies that combine the use of our HyperKewl and Cool Pax products for pre, during and post cooling are being prepared at Roehampton University in the United Kingdom. While HyperKewl is an ideal solution for cooling during the event, it can be used for pre and post cooling. However, we advocate the use of our Cool Pax Phase Change products for pre and post cooling.
In the Industrial Safety world, Heat Stress Management has been an issue for several years. OSHA and NIOSH have always advocated personal hydration, shade and rest as the best methods to avoid heat stress. These are all critical components in the battle against heat stress, but now the everyday construction worker can add a cooling vest to his arsenal helping maintain his health and productivity. Productivity is an important issue that can mean billions of dollars in savings or losses. In a Heat Stress study conducted in Australia (Extreme heat poses a billion-dollar threat to Australia’s Economy , it was estimated that $6.9 billion in lost productivity was due to heat stress and heat stress symptoms. The current population of Australia is just under 24 million. The US population is just over 300 million or 12 times that of Australia. The implications for productivity losses in the US due to heat stress and its symptoms are staggering and its only getting hotter.
In my introductory blog that started the series I mentioned,
Well, stopping what you are doing is not always an option when trying to avoid heat stress and heat stroke. Projects must be completed on time, productivity must be maintained, and the game must go on.
Being able to better manage heat stress keeps you healthier, more competitive and more productive. Failing to manage heat stress costs you your health and money. When there are options to Beat the Heat, why not use them. Afterall, anybody can be hot, uncomfortable and unproductive.
Look to June 15th for further discussions regarding cooling using our Phase Change Cooling Technology Cool Pax.
TechNiche International, keeping you comfortable at work, rest or play!!