Heat casualties are a critical problem for body armor users. This is, of course, a big deal for Military, SOF and Law Enforcement. There's a new, way better, approach.
The military has been trying to solve the problem of cooling soldiers efficiently for several decades. The insulating properties of protective body armor increase the risk of dehydration, heat stroke, and performance loss for those who wear it, as their bodies cannot offload the heat trapped by the armor.
Typical cooling mechanisms require power or add significant weight to operator kit, making them ineffective and impractical. Thus the US military spends hundreds of millions of dollars in hydration bladders and bottled water to replenish and rehydrate operators in the field after they have already begun to experience dehydration.
However, coupled with the extreme temperatures of modern conflict areas, rehydration is insufficient. Operators working at even moderate levels produce 2L/hour of sweat as their bodies work to keep core temperature from elevating , while exercise research has shown water intake rates of greater than 0.5L/hour are unsustainable . As dehydration of even 2% of body weight substantially reduces performance, operators are required to reduce their work output to compensate .
Quartermaster guidelines show that moving from hot to temperate conditions lowers recommended soldier water requirements by up to 50% . Thus cooling, if effectively and efficiently applied, can significantly reduce water requirements and better balance soldier sweat versus water intake rate, substantially improving hydration and, in turn, performance.
Enter IcePlate® Curve: a reusable water bottle shaped like a Medium ESAPI armor plate that when frozen provides 140+ watts of cooling using the 100 ounces of water already carried by warfighters to maximize hydration efficiency beyond simple consumption when worn front and back. The IcePlate® Curve helps body armor users stay safer, lighter, more hydrated, with cooler core body temperatures while wearing their protective armor. IcePlate® solves the issues of warfighter cooling, heating, hydration, endurance and heat injury prevention while dramatically enhancing military-wide logistical efficiency through decreased water demand and improved volumetric storage. IcePlate® is made from ultra-durable, food-grade, BPA-free, FDA-approved High Density Polyethylene (HDPE); it can be refilled and reused if need be, but it is cheap enough to be expendable. It contains no moving parts or batteries, and is without sanitary risk associated with ROWPU water. Highlights:
- 140+ watts of cooling when frozen (front and back IcePlates)
- 50+ fluid ounce capacity per IcePlate®
- <12 oz. empty bottle weight
- 30%+ greater storage density vs. bottled water
- Optimized for Pelican Coolers
- Fits any body armor or plate carrier configuration
- Can be worn with or without armor using Side Release Armor Straps
- TotalDrain Technology ensures total consumption, reduced contamination risk
- Screw top for easy refill and addition of electrolyte tablets
- Recessed fill port minimizes injury risk to neck/throat area in blast events
- BPA-free, FDA-certified HDPE construction
- Made in USA from US Materials
IcePlate® Curve can be worn between a Combat Shirt (or any base layer shirt) and a plate carrier. It is designed to be secured using any number of options. Drawing on the existing practice of war-fighters freezing bottled water before going out on patrol, IcePlate® is worn and stored in a frozen state. Once deployed, body heat melts the ice; cooling the user and creating cool, clean drinking water simultaneously.
The tremendous cooling power of IcePlate® has the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of water required by warfighters in the field. When comparing US Military bottled water consumption in hot versus temperate climates, water consumption drops by 50%.IcePlate® could potentially simulate this effect by creating a temperate microclimate for the operator when wearing IcePlate during a hot season.
Despite this tremendous capability, the functionality of IcePlate® is not limited to hot climates. Filling IcePlate® Curve with hot water provides heating and insulating capability in cold temperatures. Maintaining warfighter hydration in colder climates is challenging because drinking cold water can cause operators to feel colder. The root cause of this problem is that water on a warfighter is not carried against the body to keep it warm. Exposed to the elements, the water gets cold, discouraging consumption by the warfighter for fear of feeling colder. When filled with hot water, IcePlate® Curve leverages basic thermodynamics to the warfighters advantage. As heat flows from warm to cold, IcePlates® filled with warm water helps regulate core body temperature using the same thermodynamic conduction principles of warm to cold transfer that it uses to remove body heat in hot climates. By conductively leveraging body heat, IcePlate® also prevents the water from freezing in cold/arctic environments as recently proven by an AFSOC unit deployed to the Arctic Circle with IcePlates®. This versatility makes it unmatched by any other hydration or temperature management product ever created.
Through its unparalleled capacity for thermal conduction, IcePlate® Curve can severely reduce the threat of heat injuries and hypothermia, mitigating risk in harsh operational environments. The IcePlate® is unrivaled in core temperature/hydration performance, weight, space, cost, durability and efficiency. It provides the greatest effects for the cost, and is seamlessly integrated into the warfighter’s kit while actually improving rig ergonomics.
Gisolfi, Carl V.; “Nutritional Needs in Hot Environments: Applications for Military Personnel in Field Operations” Section 5 Water Requirements During Exercise in the Heat; NIH
Montain, Scott J. and Ely, Matthew; “Water Requirements and Soldier Hydration;” Borden Institute Monograph Series