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Air-conditioning vests improve comfort in extreme environments

| By Chemical Engineering



Working in extreme environments can take a toll on workers, but these dual-action personal air conditioners (PACs; photo) keep workers comfortable in either hot or cold working conditions. PACs minimize heat stress and fatigue in elevated temperatures, or with simple adjustment, they raise vest and body temperatures to ward off the cold. A dual-action PAC generates cold or hot air to provide airflow to the worker, along with a cooling/heating vest that diffuses the air flows around the worker’s torso. They do not restrict movement, do not absorb sweat or other contaminants, and can be worn under other protective clothing. When wearing PACs, workers require fewer and shorter cooling and warming work breaks, increasing overall productivity. Tubes convert compressed air to a low-pressure cold or warm air source. A compressed air stream enters the vortex tube where it spins rapidly, splitting into hot and cold air streams. — Vortec, Cincinnati, Ohio