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Undersea Biomed Res. 1989 Jul;16(4):313-9.

Changes in insulation of wetsuits during repetitive exposure to pressure.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan.

Erratum in

  • Undersea Biomed Res 1989 Nov;16(6):preceding 413.


This investigation was intended to a) establish a relationship between pressure and thickness (and hence insulation) of wetsuits during acute changes in pressure from 0.5 to 5 atmospheres absolute (ATA); b) determine the effect of repetitive compression-decompression (C-D) procedures on the insulation properties of wetsuits; and c) assess the possible recovery of insulation after cessation of repetitive C-D. Various wetsuits with different thicknesses and types of linings were selected. In all wetsuits, insulation and thickness were both reduced as similar, curvilinear functions of acutely increasing pressure in the range of 0.5-5.0 ATA. Effects of repetitive C-D (3 ATA) were studied in 5-mm-thick suit samples with various linings. The insulation of suits (0.100-0.120 degrees C.W-1.m-2) rapidly decreased after the first 5000 C-D. In suits without linings (skin suits), the insulation was reduced to 0.080 degrees C.W-1.m-2 at 5000 C-D and revealed no further reduction during the continuation of C-D cycles up to 30,000. Suits lined with single- or double-sided jersey showed a continuous decrease in the insulation and thickness as the number of cycles increased up to 12,000 and remained at a lowered value (0.060 degrees C.W-1.m-2) until the termination of C-D (30,000 times). A nearly complete recovery of thickness was seen 10 days after cessation of C-D treatment in the skin suit when C-D cycles were less than 3500; however, no recovery was observed in suits with linings (either single- or double-sided) in 25 days.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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