Aerogel Augmented Thermal Protection for Divers' Hands
Navy SBIR FY2008.2

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2008.2
Topic No.: N08-189
Topic Title: Aerogel Augmented Thermal Protection for Divers' Hands
Proposal No.: N082-189-1007
30 Forbes Road
Building B
Northborough, Massachusetts 01532
Contact: Roxana Trifu
Phone: (508) 466-3114
Web Site:
Abstract: A diver's ability to perform dexterity work is greatly diminished in long duration missions if his hands are cold. Research has demonstrated that protecting a diver's torso, arms, and legs in cold water diving without simultaneously providing adequate thermal protection to the hands proves futile in maintaining an adequate core body temperature in long duration cold water dives. In extremely cold water diving conventional foam neoprene glove are inadequate for protecting the diver and enabling his mission. These gloves have poor thermal performance, are bulky, buoyant, inhibit dexterity and tactile sensitivity, and are difficult to maintain waterproof. The proposed study will develop a multifunctional passive thermal protection solution for diver's hands featuring augmented aerogel with impressive thermal performance. Using a new infiltration process, Aspen will transform conventionally engineered liners into augmented aerogel super insulating gloves with outstanding dexterity and durability. Phase II will continue refining the work on the superinsulating flexible glove and will provide development on the system design for additional thermal protection and hand warm-up.
Benefits: The proposed study will result in development of highly insulating suit elements for diver hand thermal protection that can be integrated into the full body dive suit or the aerogel augmented drysuit liner already developed. The ultra-flexible aerogel gloves will provide superior thermal protection compared to the currently used gloves at reduced thicknesses. This will enable higher dexterity, tactile sensitivity and provide increased comfort for the diver. The rubberized aerogel augmented gloves will be highly durable and hydrophobic, increasing the safety for divers during long duration missions in cold waters. Potential Commercial Applications The impressive thermal performance of composite aerogel garments is likely to result in other applications for these materials, such as components for exposure suits, high altitude climbing, parachute operation, high speed boat racing, arctic clothing, etc.