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Improved Thermal Control Body Armor

NCJ Number
Date Published
76 pages
This preliminary report describes the progress of tests to determine the comfort level of wearers of various soft-body-armor (vest) materials in terms of temperature and humidity while engaged in physical activity.
Three amateur cyclists volunteered for the study. Subjects rode a stationary bike for a 34-minute period that included an initial 4-minute "warm-up", followed by the 30-minute test under a constant pedal rate with varying pedal resistance influenced by the subject's pulse rate. Subjects cycled under three testing conditions: no body armor, body armor, and body armor lined with moisture wicking material. Cycling tests were conducted twice a week and always in the morning. During the tests, temperature and humidity data were collected from sensors attached to a shirt at various locations on the torso. Body temperature readings were calculated based on temperature taken from the ear canal. Body weight measurements were taken before and after each test. The goal for the first year of funding was to fabricate and begin testing at least one prototype over-vest with body armor. Based on current progress that goal will be reached. If funding continues for a second year, testing will continue in the laboratory and under field conditions, adding law enforcement officer volunteers to the program. A refined prototype will be produced with the test data and thermal model. The program will also examine body-armor manufacturers' interest in producing and testing a prototype of the proposed body armor that meets criteria for the wearer's comfort. Extensive tables, 39 references, and appended review of the study's background

Date Published: January 1, 2003