The invention relates to a system for cooling the body of individuals or the like, having cooling elements which are connected with each other in a movable manner and are arranged in the form of a cape which may be worn by the individual or the like to be cooled and contain a cooling liquid.
In particular, the present invention relates to the cooling of sportsmen after doing high-performance sport so as to increase his/her performance in the following activities. The inventive system may be used, e.g., by football players for a certain time during half-time of a football match in order to increase their performance in the second half time. The system may also be used with different sports or activities. Although the present invention is mainly directed at cooling persons, a use with animals, e.g. race horses, would also be conceivable.
After having done high-performances in sports or at work, the respective individuals most often want to cool their bodies. For this purpose, cooling beverages are drunk and/or the body is cooled with water. A cooling of the body with cold water is, however, not always possible or suitable. For example, sportsmen do not have the time to take a shower and to, thus, act against the heating of the body during breaks of sport events, e.g. during box fights or football matches.
Cooling covers for reducing the body temperature, e.g. for the head or inflamed body parts have been known but they most often produce an insufficient reduction of the body temperature during short periods of use.
Clothes in the form of vests or the like, which may be used for cooling individuals, have been known, e.g. from U.S. Pat. No. 5,072,455 A, U.S. Pat. No. 6,189,149 B1, U.S. Pat. No. 5,692,238 A, U.S. Pat. No. 5,146,625 A or DE 35 21 813 A1. In these documents, mostly cooling liquid or gel-like cooling media are used for cooling purposes, which may be inserted into corresponding pockets or the like provided on the clothing. Here, the effort necessary for preparing the cooling system is relatively high. Moreover, a rapid cooling of individuals is most often not possible.
DE 30 04 596 A1 shows a cooling vest of the present kind, wherein the cooling means is introduced into the double-walled cooling vest. Here, water may be used as a cooling liquid. The cold transfer to the body of the person and the adsorption of the body heat of the individual by the cooling system is relatively slow so that a cooling in a very short time is not possible.
Thus, the object of the present invention resides in creating an above-mentioned cooling system, by means of which the body of an individual or the like can be efficiently cooled in a very short time. The disadvantages of known cooling systems shall be reduced or avoided. The cooling system shall be easy to use and allow for a quick use. The production costs shall not be too high.
The object according to the invention is achieved by an above-mentioned cooling system, wherein a material for receiving the cooling liquid is contained in the cooling elements, said material being a thermally good conductor compared to the cooling liquid. Thanks to the thermally well-conductive material contained in the cooling elements the usually bad heat conductivity of the cooling liquid, e.g. of water, is eliminated, and thanks to the good conductivity of the material arranged in the cooling element it is achieved that the melting temperature of the cooling liquid will be reached very quickly when using the cooling system. Thus, when water is used as a cooling liquid, the high melting heat of the ice may be used for the cooling. Provided that the appropriate cooling liquids are used, frostbites on the body surface of the individual or the like are thus avoided. If a corresponding heat capacity is provided by the cooling elements, a particularly rapid cooling of the body will also be achieved when the inventive cape is used for a relatively short time. The cape consisting of the cooling elements including a cooling liquid may be used in a particularly quick and simple manner by putting it on like a usual piece of clothing. By the measure that the cooling elements are movably connected with each other, the inventive cape is sufficiently flexible to provide a high wear comfort. The cape is stored, e.g. in a cooling device such as, e.g. deep-freezer, in order to appropriately cool down the cooling liquid present in the cooling elements. Before the cape is used, it is taken from the deep-freezer and the individual or the like puts it on. In this manner, a sportsman may, for example, cool down the body by wearing the cape for a certain time, e.g. for a few minutes, during the break of matches and may increase his/her performance for the following sport activities. It is also conceivable to use the cape with workingmen before they have to do particularly exhausting activities.
In order to prevent the cooling elements from directly contacting the body surface of the individual or the like and from causing pains or even burns as a consequence of the low temperatures, spacers may be arranged on the side of the cooling system facing the body. These spacers ensure a certain minimum distance between the body surface and the cooling elements so that the body is cooled by radiation of the cooling elements only. Moreover, thanks to the air circulation between the spacers the body surface is aerated and dehumidified.
To provide a high wear comfort, the spacers may be made of foamed material.
To be able to adapt the spacers to the individual requirements, they may be made of a plastically deformable material. Provided that appropriate materials are used, the spacer may at certain locations be overcome by exerting an appropriate pressure, thus reducing the distance between the cooling element and the body surface if desired.
Furthermore, the spacers may be designed to be detachable to render possible an individual adaptation for cooling certain body regions. For example, the spacers may be connectable with the inner side of the cape by means of a hook-and-loop fastener and may be arranged on certain locations of the inner side of the cape as required.
To increase the wear comfort, shoulder pads may be arranged in the cape. Since the weight of the cape is relatively high due to the cooling elements including the cooling liquid, and since the weight may be in range of from 10 to 20 kg, such shoulder pads distribute the force acting on the shoulder.
Preferably, the shoulder pads are made of foamed material.
According to a further feature of the invention, the cape has sleeves to ensure a cooling of the arms as well. Instead of putting on the specifically designed sleeves, the individual may also wear the cape in the form of a poncho covering the arms so as to appropriately cool also the arms.
To provide an appropriate cooling of the head, the cape may also have a hood including cooling elements.
To simplify the use of the cape, the latter may have at least one preferably closable opening. Here, as is usually the case with pieces of clothing, the opening may be designed to cover only a part of the length of the cape or to be continuous covering the whole length from top to bottom.
According to a feature of the present invention, at least one opening may be formed by an appropriate zip. Thus, a quick opening and closing of the cape and, thus, a quick use thereof is ensured.
Alternatively or additionally to the zip, at least one opening may also be closable by a hook-and-loop fastener.
To ensure an efficient radiation of cold from the cooling elements to the body surface, the side of the cape facing the body may be black.
To ensure a sufficient air circulation and to dissipate sweat, the cape may have vent holes at suitable locations.
If, according to a further feature of the invention, the cape is designed to be printed on its outer side, it may be used as an advertising medium, which is of enormous economic importance in sports.
Alternatively or additionally to printed regions of the cape, units for receiving advertising media or the like may be provided on the outer side of the cape.
Such receiving units may be connected, e.g. by a pocket made of transparent material having at least one opening for inserting the advertising medium or the like, or by hook-and-loop fasteners or the like. Thus, e.g. an advertising sign may be inserted into the transparent pocket or an advertising banner or the like provided with hook-and-loop fasteners on the rear side may be attached to the outer side of the cap.
To check the temperature of the cooling elements, the cape may have an indicator for indicating the temperature. Such a temperature indicator is preferably designed not to include a battery and may be formed, e.g. by a colour indicator, which changes its colour as a function of the temperature.
Advantageously, the cooling liquid is formed by water. Since water has a melting point of 0° C. (+32° F.), it may not cause temperatures at the body surface of below 0° C. (+32° F.) and, thus, burns of the skin cannot occur when the cooling system contacts the skin. Here, ultra-pure water is preferably used. The melting heat of water, i.e. the temperature the ice absorbs to liquefy, is 335 kJ/kg and relatively high.
To prevent or delay a cooling-off of the cooling elements towards the outside, a thermally isolating layer may be provided on the side of the cooling elements facing away from the body. This thermally isolating layer may be made of suitable materials which have a poor heat conductivity and are easy to be processed.
The outer side of the cape may be formed by fabric. However, in order to reduce the weight of the cape, it is also possible not to provide for a fabric and to arrange the cooling elements, e.g. directly on a grid consisting of latex and to vulcanise the same.
The present invention will be explained in detail by way of the enclosed drawings. Therein:
FIG. 1 is a representation of the inventive cooling system for cooling the body of an individual;
FIG. 2 is a detailed view of a cooling system in sectional representation; and
FIG. 3 is a further detailed view of a cooling system in partially sectional representation.
FIG. 1 shows a representation of one embodiment variant of an inventive system for cooling the body of an individual 1 or the like by means of movably interconnected cooling elements 2, which contain a cooling liquid 3 and are arranged in the form of a cape 4 which may be worn by the individual 1 to be cooled. The cooling elements 2 are, e.g. cuboid-shaped, as is better illustrated in the sectional representation in FIG. 2. The cooling elements 2 consist of a jacket 5 which is made of, e.g., flexible plastics such as, for example, latex or silicone. A cooling liquid 3 is provided in the cooling elements 2, said cooling liquid being embedded in a preferably thermally well-conductive material, such as, e.g. metal wool, metal foam or graphite, whereby the heat conductivity can be increased and, thus, the cooling liquid 3 may convey its cold more quickly. To prevent the cooling liquid 3 in the cooling elements 2 from being heated from the outside or to reduce this process, a thermally isolating layer 6 may be arranged on the side of the cooling elements 2 facing away from the body of the individual 1. The outer side of the cape 4 is preferably formed by a layer of a fabric 7. To improve the radiation of cold towards the body surface of the individual 1, the side 8 of the cooling elements 2 facing the body surface of the individual 1 may be black. To prevent the cooling elements 2 from contacting the body surface of the individual 1, spacers 9 may be arranged on the side 8 of the cooling elements 2 facing the body of the individual 1 or the like. These spacers 9 may be made of a foamed material or a plastically deformable material and may, e.g. also be arranged to be detachable.
The cape 4 may have sleeves 10 to cool the arms, and a hood 11 to cool the head. The cape 4 may be designed to be longer or shorter, depending on whether the legs shall also be sufficiently cooled. To facilitate the putting-on of cape 4, at least one preferably closable opening 12 may be provided which may be formed, e.g., by a zip 13. The opening 12 may also be closable by at least one hook-and-loop fastener 14. To ensure an air circulation under the cape 4, vent holes 15 may be provided at different locations and in different sizes.
The outer side of the cape 4 may be designed to be fully printed or to be printed on certain locations 16. In this manner, the cape may be used as an advertising medium, which is of huge economic importance in sports. Instead of printed locations 16, also units for receiving advertising media or the like, such as, e.g. a pocket made of transparent material or hook-and-loop fasteners, may be provided on the outer side of the cape 4 (not illustrated). To indicate the temperature of the cooling elements 2 to the individual 1 or the like wearing the cape 4, appropriate indicators may be arranged for indicating the temperature (not illustrated). They may be formed, e.g., by colour indicators working with no batteries.
As can be better seen from the partially sectional representation of FIG. 3, shoulder pads 17 may also be provided which are preferably made of foamed material or the like. Since the cape 4 including the cooling elements 2 is relatively heavy, pressure marks on the shoulders of the individual 1 are avoided by the shoulder pads 17 and, at the same time, a distance to the body surface is created. FIG. 3 shows further spacers 9 for ensuring a minimum distance between the body surface and the bottom side of the cooling elements 2.