Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Smart helicopter survival suit

08.04.2008
The most elaborate travel-wear in Norway keeps the body cool in hot helicopter cabins, but will turn into a heat-retaining suit if the helicopter should fall into the sea.

The new suit has been jointly developed by SINTEF, which is a Norwegian research institute, and Helly Hansen, a Norwegian producer of textiles and special gear for sports and work on the ocean and in the mountains.

Thanks to a cooperative project between these two partners offshore platform personnel on the Norwegian continental shelf have been issued with – literally – smart helicopter survival suits.

These offshore workers are among the first people in the world who can go to work in clothes with built-in intelligence.

Awarded
The new suit has already aroused the interest of design experts.
The partnership is one of the recipients of the 2008 Good Design Mark, an award given by the Norwegian Design Council.
Combined helicopter and survival suit
Ever since the “Oil Age” came to Norway, platform workers have been easily recognisable in the heliports at Norwegian airports as they troop out to waiting helicopters in bright orange suits that will keep them from either drowning or freezing to death in the event of an emergency landing or a helicopter crash-landing at sea.

Now this group of workers is in the process of putting on a new generation of colourful suits. Thanks to their special qualities, the garments can be used both during helicopter transport and as survival suits out on the platform.

Not satisfied with what was available
The smart suits were developed in response to new demands made on behalf of the Norwegian Oil Industry Association (OLF).

In 2000, OLF appointed a working group to define the properties that helicopter suits should have in the future to be approved for use during transport to and from Norwegian offshore oil-fields.

This initiative was enthusiastically received by the trade unions involved. The working group documented that users were dissatisfied with several aspects of the suits then in use.

“Boiled alive”'
The offshore workers felt that they were being “boiled alive” in the helicopters on warm summer days. At the same time, they feared that the original suits did not offer complete protection against heat loss during long periods in cold seawater.

The working group gained acceptance of their viewpoint that the helicopter suits must solve both of these problems in order to be approved.

Norwegian scientists and industry people have now demonstrated that what seemed to be conflicting requirements for cooling and heat insulation can be met.

Several innovations
The Norwegian clothing manufacturer Helly Hansen immediately started work on developing a new helicopter suit that would include solutions for all the new items on the long list of specifications.

Among other points, these innovations covered protection against spray on the face, sizes for large and small individuals, a breathing lung, emergency beacon and the ability to turn the wearer the right way up in the sea.

“SmartWear”
Helly Hansen also gave SINTEF the task of developing solutions for cooling and heat insulation, based on SINTEF's work on SmartWear technology

“Smart use of functional textiles can give clothes completely new properties. In our work on the helicopter suit, we have made use of our knowledge of how heat and cold affect the human body, and how smart textiles can work in the same direction as the body's own reactions to cooling and heating”, explains research director Randi Eidsmo Reinertsen of SINTEF Health Research who is also a professor of physiology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Paraffin wax spheres
A core component of the new Norwegian helicopter suit is a commercially available textile that contains tiny in-woven capsules. These are filled with microscopic particles that consist of a specially developed type of paraffin wax.

If the skin temperature of the wearer of the clothing rises above 28 degrees Celsius, the wax changes phase from solid to liquid.

“Melting requires heat, which the wax takes from the body, cooling the wearer in the helicopter cabin on warm days”, explain product designers Kristine Holbø and Jarl Reitan of SINTEF Health Research.

Perspire less
“In the laboratory, we have demonstrated that the skin temperature of the wearers does not rise by much. We registered that our test subjects did not begin to sweat until as long as 80 minutes at an air temperature of 27 degrees, because the melting process actually lasts such a long time” says senior scientist Hilde Færevik, also of SINTEF Health Research.

An analogy from everyday life is a glass of water with ice-cubes. Until all the ice has melted, the water in the glass remains at the melting temperature of ice, i.e. zero degrees Celsius. Only when all the ice has thawed will the temperature of the water begin to rise.

The laboratory studies also showed that the subjects felt much more comfortable in the new suits than the old ones.

Protection against heat loss
At the same time, Færevik and her colleagues at SINTEF have documented that the new suit offers good protection against loss of heat when the wearer is in the sea.

“We believe that this is both because the paraffin wax releases the stored heat as it returns to the solid state, and because the suit contains extra insulation at the places where the body releases most heat,” she explains.

Important for survival
The suit ensures that the skin temperature of the wearer never falls below 15 degrees anywhere on the body in the course of six hours in water at a temperature of two degrees Celsius.

This ensures, for example, that helicopter passengers retain their ability to grasp things during long involuntary stays in the sea.

Warm hands and feet also ensure that heat is evenly distributed to all parts of the body, which is important for survival and for the ability to make a contribution to one's own rescue.

Norwegian winner
“Critical voices claimed that the new requirements would make the suits too bulky, but by intelligent distribution of the insulation, we have avoided that they take up too much room”, explains Jarl Reitan.

In tough competition with recently developed clothing from foreign manufacturers, the Norwegian suit was victorious in a call for tenders from StatoilHydro, the first oil company to swap its old helicopter suits for the new variety.

Aase Dragland | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sintef.com

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht A helping (Sens)Hand
11.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Study sets new distance record for medical drone transport
13.09.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>