Wetsuits are wonderful when it comes to spending time in the water. They make swimming in water that would otherwise feel freezing quite enjoyable and they enable you to participate in water activities whenever you want to, without you ever having to worry about what the temperature is. Today we are going to talk about how wetsuits actually keep you warm and the reasons why they work so well.
How does a wetsuit work?
One of the first things that you need to know about wetsuits is that they have not been designed to keep you dry. You still get wet while you are wearing a wetsuit. In fact, there is no real difference between jumping into the water while wearing all of your clothes and jumping into the water while wearing a wetsuit. The difference becomes apparent after.
Wearing a wetsuit enables you to withstand cold water temperatures, depending on what the wetsuit has been designed to do. Some wetsuits are so advanced that they can keep you safe even when the temperature of the water around you would be enough to kill you if you were not wearing a wetsuit. But, that still doesn’t explain why or how a wetsuit really works. Imagine choosing an outfit for yourself on a really cold day. Chances are, you would aim to choose multiple thin layers rather than choosing a single thick layer. This is because all of the gaps between multiple thin layers trap air and that air stops you from getting cold. Wetsuits work in a similar way because they provide the body with the same type of heat insulation.
Try to imagine that each of the gaps between your layers is a type of airlock. These airlocks can only really be created when air is trapped between multiple layers. They are important because they stop heat from escaping and make it easier for us to keep our body temperatures high, even when our surroundings are freezing.
If we look even closer, then we can see the basic rule behind the science of how heat moves. Heat is known to flow from warm objects to colder ones. Meaning that if you were sitting in a cold room, then heat would be flowing from your body into the water around you. This happens even quicker when it is cold water surrounding you because of the difference between the air and the water. This can cause your body to cool down rapidly.Before we go any further, remember that getting into cold water of any kind can be dangerous without a wetsuit. It can cause something called hypothermia, where the body becomes so cold that it is incapable of warming up again. The heart then struggles to keep beating and organs begin to shut down. This is why wearing a wetsuit is so important.
Wetsuits and Warmth
We can see how multiple layers work perfectly when we take a look at the way that standard wetsuits are designed. They consist of multiple layers and air is trapped between each of them. They also include a thick, rubbery layer of a material that is called neoprene. Neoprene is usually used in wetsuits because it has gas bubbles of nitrogen trapped inside of it, making it a good heat insulator.
Some of the layers that can usually be seen inside of wetsuits include:1. The gap between your own skin and the wetsuit itself. This is an important layer to think about because the gap is actually full of a thin layer of water that is warmed up by your own body. This warm water actually helps to keep you warm while the water around you is much colder.2. The first layer of wetsuit fabric that is against your skin will be something comfortable. Materials like nylon are regularly used. This layer exists to stop the wetsuit from rubbing and irritating your body while you are in the water. It can also help to prevent chaffing.3. Some wetsuits also include a layer of a heat-reflecting material. These usually include metals like copper and titanium. The idea of a heat-reflecting material might sound a little bit strange, but the material is actually used to reflect heat back towards the body. This stops your own body heat from escaping the wetsuit.4. Most wetsuits then include a layer of neoprene. Neoprene is used by most manufacturers because of the qualities that it has. It is perfect for heat insulation and it is capable of keeping the wearer warm while they are in the water, but it is also relatively flexible, meaning that it does not impact the wearer’s ability to move in an adverse way.5. Some wetsuits then include a durable outer layer. This layer has been designed to withstand snags and to stop your knees and elbows from getting hurt while you are wearing your wetsuit. A good durable outer layer will be highly abrasion-resistant.
All of this means that wetsuits have been designed to keep you warm in two different ways. Heat gets trapped within all of the different layers and any heat that does escape from the body is quickly reflected back towards the body before it is lost. This keeps the wearer nice and warm, even when water temperatures are freezing.