June 5, 2006 The wetsuit was invented in 1951 by UC Berkeley physicist Hugh Bradner to help the U.S. Navy’s “underwater swimmers” who were experiencing difficulties thanks to the advent of the Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) putting them in cold water for long periods. Bradner recognised that divers did not need to be dry to be warm and that thermal insulation could be obtained by air entrapped in the material of the suit … and the wet suit was born. The wetsuit facilitated humans spending long periods in cold water in relative comfort and the protection it affords has been a key enabling factor in the evolution of a host of water-based recreational activities such as sail boarding, body boarding, canyoning, triathlons, swimming, water skiing, diving, sailing and surfboard riding. As the quality of neoprene has improved and wetsuit design has evolved in particular ways for particular sports, the global wetsuit market has grown to somewhere between three and five million units annually. Until recently, wetsuit panels were stitched together, allowing water to enter between the stitching but in recent years, glue-based systems have overcome this problem, though water still enters through the suit’s zipper, plus neck, wrist and ankle openings. Now a patented system for preventing water entering the wetsuit altogether raises the possibility of an upmarket, premium drysuit. The coreheat system eliminates many of the problems associated with current wetsuits in that it offers a lighter, more thermally efficient and much more comfortable wet suit that is immune from the cold water flushing which saps the body’s core temperature.
Research has shown that the coreheat sealing system coupled with this glue joining system on a neoprene wetsuit will comprehensively mitigate most, if not all, water from entering a wetsuit. The quality of neoprene material has incrementally improved over the past 70 years through improved manufacturing processes, however the only significant change to the material when used in the construction of wetsuits has been the ability to vary the amount of air that is trapped in the neoprene during its manufacture creating varying neoprene densities.
This ability to vary the air density has allowed for the thickness of neoprene used in wetsuit construction to vary in thickness and hence tailor wetsuits for differing uses, such as thick high density neoprene for buoyancy in triathlon wetsuits or thin, lower-density, more flexible neoprene which surf board riders prefer.
The coreheat Sealing System relates to improvements to the neck, wrist, ankle and zips of a conventional wetsuit. These improvements collectively and separately, minimise and potentially stop water entering into a shallow water wetsuit by substantially increasing the sealing and waterproofing functionality. By adding these improvements to a conventional wetsuit, the suit remains significantly dryer, warmer and lighter in weight resulting in an increase in comfort.
In addition, these improvements incorporate more effective use of the thermodynamic properties of the materials used in constructing a conventional shallow water suit, the skin of suit wearer and the environmental elements that surround a suit wearer such as water and air.
These improvements through sealing out water from entering a suit and keeping trapped air inside the suit significantly reduce heat and energy loss to these elements. These improvements reduce the wearer’s heat and energy transfer to the air surrounding their body and the internal layer of the suit’s material, which is typically made of insulating material that has a Specific Heat value lower than water. In sum, these improvements lower the transfer of heat and energy from the wearer’s body to the immediate surrounding areas within a conventional shallow water wetsuit, thereby saving the wearer’s body heat and energy and prolonging their time participating in their recreation.
Inventor Steven Brady is seeking to joint venture with or license to potential partners. He can be contacted here.