US Navy Is Modifying Wetsuits For SEALs To Use in Arctic Battle

Friday, 07 September 2018 - 1:55PM
Military Tech
Friday, 07 September 2018 - 1:55PM
US Navy Is Modifying Wetsuits For SEALs To Use in Arctic Battle
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Image Credit: Pixabay
Forget the Space Force-there are highly trained men and women here on Earth whose job it is to protect against threats both foreign and domestic, like the US Navy. As with any job, things tend to go more smoothly when the workers have the right tools for the job. According to Defense One, in an effort to give Navy seals the advantage when responding to potential threats in cold climates, the Navy has partnered with the brains at MIT to develop a method for treating wetsuits so that SEALs can withstand freezing waters for hours instead of just a few minutes.

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If you've ever stepped foot into the ocean or a lake on a fall day, you know just how cold the water can be, but that's nothing compared to water temperatures near the Earth's poles. Wetsuits are typically made of neoprene and are designed to keep swimmers and surfers warm, but we're talking about another level. In a study published in the journal RSC Advances, MIT chemical engineering researchers Michael Strano and Jacopo Buongiorno outline their discovery that if you inject heavy inert gases like xenon and argon into neoprene air pockets, you can prolong its insulation capabilities. "Our process is unique in that it modifies an existing wetsuit, making it demonstrably more insulating," Strano told Defense One via email. "So far, there are no tradeoffs with respect to comfort, flexibility, dexterity, etc. So the technology appears promising."

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This is great news for those SEALs, but also potentially good news for surfers if some fraction of the new discovery makes it down to the consumer level. Military or space grade tech is often reserved for the military, but sometimes the rest of us get to benefit from the developments too (you can go buy freeze-dried "space ice cream" right now, if you want). Longer days catching waves is something that very few people would be able to turn down.
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