SCUBA Diving in a Wet Suit Made of Reflective Insulation

Published on: Jul 05 2013 by Austin Dopp

Reflective insulation works like a wet suit.Sounds crazy doesn’t it?  Ok, maybe it is, but have you ever thought about the similarities in SCUBA suits and reflective insulation?  If you follow my blog here, you know that I make some unique comparisons when it come to science.  Well, here is another one…

 

Divers can enter extremely cold water and stay warm with the proper equipment. One piece of equipment is essential when diving.  It is a suit that insulates and prevents your body’s valuable heat from being lost.  Divers use them in waters from freezing to tropical temperatures.  There are two types of insulating suits: 1. Wet.  2. Dry.

 

When you use a wet suit there is a small amount of water between your body and the suit. The warmth of your body heats that water, which when combined with the neoprene suit keeps you warm. Dry suits work in a similiar manner, however they are completely sealed and it is the air around your body that keeps you warm, just like reflective insulation.

 

Here’s the connection: if water circulates in and out of a wet suit, or there are leaks in a dry suit, the diver gets cold. The same is true with insulation: Leaks are your enemy!  I have firsthand experience with this phenomenon. 

 

scuba

 

 

My first open water certification dive was in a NE Iowa farm quarry in May and the water temperature was around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The hardest part about diving in those conditions is the initial plunge when the water first hits your skin.  Once your body has a chance to warm the water inside your suit it isn’t near as uncomfortable.

 

The problem with my first dive was that my wet suit was in two halves and the water kept circulating in and out. I have never been so cold in my entire life! Fortunately on my next dive I had a better suit that kept the water in and I was much more comfortable. Well, as comfortable as you can be in 55 degree water.

 

Reflective insulation works like a scuba dry suit.Now back to insulation. When you install reflective insulation it is important that you have what we call a dead air space. This means that the air in this space does not circulate. This is what keeps your home warm in the winter. If the air circulates in and out, just like water in a wet suit, the insulation can’t regulate the temperature of your home.

 

To ensure that you have a dead air space when installing foil bubble insulation it is imperative that you tape all of the seams.  This will seal any leaks that can cause the air to circulate, which greatly reduces the effectiveness of your  insulation.  Here is a short video showing how to properly tape the seems of EcoFoil’s double bubble insulation:

 

 

To learn more about reflective insulation and radiant barrier products visit www.ecofoil.com or call 888-349-3645 to talk to one of our technical experts.

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