Title:
Hazardous environment protective suit
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hazardous environment protective garment has a first layer of fluid barrier material; and, in an exemplary embodiment, the torso section, sleeves and/or pant legs include a second layer of material bonded thereto to form a fluid seal therebetween, where the second layer of material includes integrated fasteners sewn thereto to provide lengthwise adjustability of the respective torso section, sleeves and/or pant legs



Inventors:
Noe, James W. (Bellevue, KY, US)
Application Number:
11/326107
Publication Date:
08/31/2006
Filing Date:
01/05/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D13/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PATEL, TAJASH D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP (One Indiana Square, Suite 3500, Indianapolis, IN, 46204-2023, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A hazardous environment protective jumpsuit comprising: a jumpsuit having sleeves, pant legs and a torso section and comprising a first layer of fluid barrier material; at least one of the torso section, sleeves and pant legs including a second layer of material attached thereto, the second layer of material including integrated fasteners sewn thereto to provide lengthwise adjustability of the at least one of the torso section, sleeves and pant legs.

2. The hazardous environment protective jumpsuit of claim 1, wherein the fasteners are mounted in predetermined longitudinal locations to provide predetermined degrees of adjustability that simulate variances between standard sizes of jumpsuits.

3. The hazardous environment protective jumpsuit of claim 1, wherein adjusting the length of at least one of the torso section, sleeves and pant legs is accomplished by folding over a section thereof including the separate layer of material onto itself and fastening at least two of the integrated fasteners mounted thereto.

4. The hazardous environment protective jumpsuit of claim 3, wherein the fasteners include at least one of hook and pile fasteners, zippers, and snaps.

5. The hazardous environment protective jumpsuit of claim 3, wherein: the fasteners include individual strips of hook and pile fasteners; and the strips of hook and pile fasteners are sewn to the separate layer of material.

6. The hazardous environment protective jumpsuit of claim 1, wherein the second layer of material is a fluid barrier material.

7. The hazardous environment protective jumpsuit of claim 6, wherein edges of the second layer of material are bonded to the first layer of material to form a fluid seal between the first and second layers of material.

8. The hazardous environment protective jumpsuit of claim 7, wherein the edges of the second layer of material are bonded to the first layer of material by heat seal tape.

9. The hazardous environment protective jumpsuit of claim 7, wherein the second layer of material is a continuous tube of fluid barrier material having opposing longitudinal edges.

10. The hazardous environment protective jumpsuit of claim 1, edges of the second layer of material are bonded to the first layer of material to form a fluid seal between the first and second layers of material.

11. The hazardous environment protective jumpsuit of claim 10, wherein the edges of the second layer of material are bonded to the first layer of material by heat seal tape.

12. The hazardous environment protective jumpsuit of claim 10, wherein the second layer of material is a continuous tube of fluid barrier material having opposing longitudinal edges.

13. The hazardous environment protective jumpsuit of claim 1, wherein all of the torso section, sleeves and pant legs including a second layer of material attached thereto, the second layer of material including integrated fasteners sewn thereto to provide lengthwise adjustability of the torso section, sleeves and pant legs.

14. A hazardous environment protective garment comprising: a first inner layer of moisture barrier material; a second outer layer of material bonded over the first inner layer of moisture barrier material; and at least one fastener sewn onto the second outer layer of material, wherein holes formed by stitching through the second outer layer of material do not penetrate the first inner layer of moisture barrier material.

15. The hazardous environment protective garment of claim 14, wherein the second outer layer of material is bonded to the first inner layer of moisture barrier material.

16. The hazardous environment protective garment of claim 14, wherein the second outer layer of material is a moisture barrier material.

17. The hazardous environment protective garment of claim 14, wherein the second outer layer of material is bonded around its edges over the first inner layer of moisture barrier material to form a fluid seal therebetween.

18. The hazardous environment protective garment of claim 17, wherein the second outer layer of material is bonded over the first inner layer of moisture barrier material by heat seal tape.

19. The hazardous environment protective garment of claim 17, wherein the second outer layer of material is a continuous tube of material and the opposed longitudinal edges of the tube are bonded to the first inner layer of moisture barrier material.

20. The hazardous environment protective garment of claim 14, further comprising at least one strip of hook material sewn to the second outer layer of material and at least one strip of pile material sewn to the second outer layer of material, whereby the at least one fastener comprises the strips of hook and pile material.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is a continuation-in-part application of U.S. application Ser. No. 10/981,312, filed Nov. 4, 2004; which, in turn, claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/622,545 entitled “ONE SIZE FITS ALL HAZ-MAT SUIT”, filed on Oct. 27, 2004, the entire content of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is directed to apparel and, more specifically, to hazardous environment apparel that may be donned by rescue personnel or other individuals prior to entering or while within a potentially hazardous environment.

2. Background of the Invention

For many years, it has been understood that certain chemicals are hazardous to mammalian life and certain instances require mammals, particularly human beings, to be potentially exposed to such chemicals. Therefore, there developed a need for apparel to be donned by humans to reduce the potential exposure to hazardous chemicals. In response, a protective clothing industry evolved from the development of protective clothing such as pants, shirts, hats/hoods, gloves, masks, shoes, and suits.

Analogous to other forms of clothing, protective clothing can be ordered in one of many sizes to accommodate humans having a particular body shape. In an exemplary instance, a business entity, government body, or other employer has decided to purchase protective suits for its employees. This necessitates the employees providing feedback regarding the size of suit he/she might wear or the employer guesstimating as to the appropriate size and number of suits in a particular size. The latter approach generally involves employers purchasing a range of protective clothing that will result in many unused suits, simply in an attempt by the employer to have a sufficient supply of suits for all employees. For example, a protective suit size “SMALL” will not fit an adult male six feet tall and weighing 300 pounds. Likewise, an “XXXL” suit will be incredibly baggy on a five feet tall female weighing 100 pounds. Thus, there is a need in the industry for a protective suit adaptable to meet the various bodily configurations.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to apparel and, more specifically, to hazardous environment apparel that may be donned by rescue personnel or other individuals prior to entering or while within a potentially hazardous environment. Exemplary embodiments of the present invention provides adjustable features incorporated into protective clothing such that a purchaser and/or wearer may obtain a “one size fits all” device. The adjustable features may also be labeled to provide guidance to the wearer as to what degree of adjustment is necessary to simulate a particular body shape. For example, exemplary embodiments of the present invention include a hazardous environment suit having hook and pile (Velcro) adjustable features positioned at various locations on the arms, legs, and/or torso of the suit. The positioning of the adjustable features is coordinated to allow the hook and pile features to interface and configure the length of the legs, arms, and/or torso areas of the suit approximating a standard small, medium, large, extra large, extra extra large, and extra extra extra large suit.

In one embodiment of the invention, the length/width adjustment fasteners (such as the strips of hook and pile fasteners) are sewn onto a separate strip or tube of moisture barrier material, which is in turn bonded to the moisture barrier material of the suit. Thus, the holes caused by the stitching of the adjustment fasteners to the separate strip or tube do not penetrate the material of the suit itself.

Other novel features that may be included with certain embodiments of the present invention may include color coding the hook and/or pile adjustable features for easy reference enabling a user to quickly conform the suit to a particular size while out of the suit. Other novel features are discussed in the exemplary embodiments of the invention and reference is had to this discussion for a more detailed understanding of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a frontal view of a first exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a right side view of the first exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is an exemplary table providing exemplary measurements showing the spacing of the adjustable features to provide an adjustable suit;

FIG. 4 is a frontal view of a second exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a right side view of the second exemplary embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of a third exemplary embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 7 is a close-up view of a sleeve portion of the third exemplary embodiment of FIG. 6.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The exemplary embodiments of the present invention are described and illustrated below to encompass adjustable hazardous environment clothing and, in particular, adjustable hazardous environment protective suits. Hazardous environment clothing and, in particular, adjustable hazardous environment protective suits include any clothing operative to provide a temporary or permanent barrier to liquids identified as being potentially hazardous when humans are exposed thereto. Of course, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that the exemplary embodiments discussed below are exemplary in nature and may be reconfigured without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention. However, for clarity and precision, the exemplary embodiments as discussed below may include optional features that one of ordinary skill will recognize as not being a requisite to fall within the scope of the present invention.

Referencing FIGS. 1 and 2, an exemplary hazardous environment suit 10 has a unibody design (i.e., a jumpsuit) that includes a torso portion 12 having an integrated pair of sleeves 14, 16, an integrated pair of pant legs 18, 20, and may include an integrated hood (not shown). The front of the suit 10 includes one or more fasteners 24 enabling the front of the suit to be opened and closed to facilitate entry into and egress from the suit. Exemplary fasteners 24 for use with the present invention include, without limitation, zippers, hook and pile retainers, and interlocking tube and groove connections. In this exemplary embodiment, the suit includes a recessed zipper 24 running between the neck 26 and the crotch area 28. The recessed portion of the zipper 24 has a fold-over flap 30 of the suit that operates to overlay the zipper when zipped.

Adjustable fasteners 32 are provided on the torso portion 12, sleeves 14, 16, and legs 18, 20. In this exemplary embodiment the adjustable fasteners 32 comprise corresponding hook and pile fasteners. However, those of ordinary skill will understand from the recitation provided herein (for all embodiments) that other fasteners, such as zippers, buttons, buckles, snaps, tube and groove fasteners and the like may be used in lieu of or in addition to hook and pile fasteners.

The torso portion 12 includes a circumferential strip of pile 34 approximate the midsection. To provide torso adjustability, hook material 38 is mounted below the pile 34 and toward the crotch area 28. In this manner, pile 34 mounted to the torso may be folded over and mounted to the hook material 38 to achieve the preferred degree of adjustability. In this first exemplary embodiment, the hook material 38 is provided in the form of circumferentially spaced apart rings, where each ring corresponds to a particular size. In other words, to achieve a similar torso length to a small sized suit, the wearer would fold the pile 34 over and interface with the hook material 38 labeled “S”. Likewise, to achieve a similar torso length commensurate with a large sized suit, the wearer would fold the pile 34 over and interface with the hook material 38 labeled “L”. Those of ordinary skill will understand the obvious variations that can be derived from this exemplary recitation, such as providing various patterns of hook material 38 or providing one solid piece of hook material 38.

Each leg 18, 20 includes a circumferential strip of pile 48 approximate the upper portion of each leg. To provide leg adjustability, hook material 52 is mounted to portions of the leg extending toward the ankle region 54 of each leg 18, 20. In this manner, pile 48 mounted to the upper portion 50 may be folded over and mounted to the hook material 52 to achieve the preferred degree of adjustability. In this first exemplary embodiment, the hook material 52 is provided in the form of circumferentially spaced apart rings, where each ring corresponds to a particular size. In other words, to achieve a similar leg length to a small sized suit, the wearer would fold the pile 48 over and interface with the hook material 52 labeled “S”. Likewise, to achieve a similar leg length commensurate with a large sized suit, the wearer would fold the pile 48 over and interface with the hook material 52 labeled “L”. Those of ordinary skill will understand the obvious variations that can be derived from this exemplary recitation, such as providing various patterns of hook material 52 or providing one solid piece of hook material 52.

Each sleeve 14, 16 includes a circumferential strip of pile 40 approximate the upper portion of each sleeve. To provide sleeve adjustability, hook material 44 is mounted to portions of the sleeve extending toward the cuff 46 of each sleeve 14, 16. In this manner, pile 40 mounted to the upper portion 42 may be folded over and mounted to the hook material 44 to achieve the preferred degree of adjustability. In this first exemplary embodiment, the hook material 44 is provided in the form of circumferentially spaced apart rings, where each ring corresponds to a particular size. In other words, to achieve a similar sleeve length to a small sized suit, the wearer would fold the pile 40 over and interface with the hook material 44 labeled “S”. Likewise, to achieve a similar sleeve length commensurate with a large sized suit, the wearer would fold the pile 40 over and interface with the hook material 44 labeled “L”. Those of ordinary skill will understand the obvious variations that can be derived from this exemplary recitation, such as providing various patterns of hook material 44 or providing one solid piece of hook material 44.

The suit 10 may be comprised of any material operative to provide a liquid barrier or increased resistance to liquid permeation. Exemplary materials for use in fabricating the suit 10 include, without limitation, Tychem® CPF 1, Tychem® CPF 2, Tychem® F, Tychem® CPF 3, Tychem® CPF 4, Tychem® LV, Tychem® Responder, Tychem® TK, Tychem® CSM, Tychem® SL (all available from DuPont), as well as Tyvek® QC (also available from Dupont).

FIG. 3 includes an exemplary table listing suit sizes ranging between “Small” to “3X-Large” and providing measurements in inches for arm length (corresponding to each sleeve 14, 16) and inseam length (corresponding to each leg 18, 20). Using this table, the strips 34, 38, 40, 44, 48, 52 may be mounted to the suit to provide predetermined adjustability without trial fitting.

Referencing FIGS. 4 and 5, a second exemplary hazardous environment suit 110 has a unibody design that includes a torso portion 112 having an integrated pair of sleeves 114, 116, an integrated pair of pant legs 118, 120, and may also include an integrated hood (not shown). The front of the suit 110 include one or more fasteners 124 enabling the front of the suit to be opened and closed to facilitate entry into and egress from the suit. Exemplary fasteners 124 for use with the present invention include, without limitation, zippers, hook and pile retainers, and tube and groove connections. In this exemplary embodiment, the suit 110 includes a recessed zipper 124 running between the neck 126 and the crotch area 128. The recessed portion of the zipper 124 has a fold-over flap 130 of the suit that operates to overlay the zipper when zipped.

Adjustable fasteners 132 are provided on the torso portion 112, sleeves 114, 116, and legs 118, 120. In this exemplary embodiment the adjustable fasteners comprise hook and pile fasteners. However, those of ordinary skill will understand from the recitation provided herein that other fasteners may be used in lieu of or in addition to hook and pile fasteners.

The torso portion 112 includes one or more circumferential strips of pile 134 and one or more vertical strips of pile 134′ extending between the shoulder region 137 to the crotch area 128. To provide torso adjustability, hook material 138 is circumferentially mounted below the pile 134 and toward the crotch area 128. In this manner, pile 134 mounted to the torso may be folded over and mounted to the hook material 138 to achieve the preferred degree of length adjustability. In addition, one or more strips of pile 134′ are vertically positioned and adapted to be folded laterally over hook material 138′. In this manner, pile 134′ mounted to the torso may be folded over and mounted to the hook material 138′ to achieve the preferred degree of girth adjustability.

In this second exemplary embodiment, the hook material 138 is provided in the form of circumferentially spaced apart rings, where each ring corresponds to a particular size. In other words, to achieve a similar torso length to a small sized suit, the wearer would fold the pile 134 over and interface with the hook material 138 labeled “S”. Likewise, to achieve a similar torso length commensurate with a large sized suit, the wearer would fold the pile 134 over and interface with the hook material 138 labeled “L”. In addition, to achieve a constricted torso size, the wearer would fold the pile 134′ over and interface with the hook material 138′. Those of ordinary skill will understand the obvious variations that can be derived from this exemplary recitation.

Each leg 118, 120 includes a circumferential strip of pile 148 approximate the upper portion of each leg approximate the crotch area 128. To provide leg adjustability, hook material 152 is mounted to portions of the leg extending toward the ankle region 154 of each leg 118, 120. In this manner, pile 148 mounted to the upper portion 150 may be folded over and mounted to the hook material 152 to achieve the preferred degree of adjustability. In this first exemplary embodiment, the hook material 152 is provided in the form of circumferentially spaced apart rings, where each ring corresponds to a particular size. In other words, to achieve a similar leg length to a small sized suit, the wearer would fold the pile 148 over and interface with the hook material 152 labeled “S”. Likewise, to achieve a similar leg length commensurate with a large sized suit, the wearer would fold the pile 148 over and interface with the hook material 152 labeled “L”. Those of ordinary skill will understand the obvious variations that can be derived from this exemplary recitation, such as providing vertical pile and hook strips running along each leg 118, 120 to enable girth adjustability.

Each sleeve 114, 116 includes a circumferential strip of pile 140 approximate the upper portion of each sleeve. To provide sleeve adjustability, hook material 144 is mounted to portions of the sleeve extending toward the cuff 146 of each sleeve 114, 116. In this manner, pile 140 mounted to the upper portion 142 may be folded over and mounted to the hook material 144 to achieve the preferred degree of adjustability. In this first exemplary embodiment, the hook material 144 is provided in the form of circumferentially spaced apart rings, where each ring corresponds to a particular size. In other words, to achieve a similar sleeve length to a small sized suit, the wearer would fold the pile 140 over and interface with the hook material 144 labeled “S”. Likewise, to achieve a similar sleeve length commensurate with a large sized suit, the wearer would fold the pile 140 over and interface with the hook material 144 labeled “L”. Those of ordinary skill will understand the obvious variations that can be derived from this exemplary recitation, such as providing vertical pile and hook strips running along each sleeve 114, 116 to enable girth adjustability.

As shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, a third embodiment of the present invention is a hazardous environment garment 210 that is similar to the above embodiments except that the adjustability fasteners are sewn to an outer layer of moisture barrier materials, which is in turn bonded to the outer surfaces of the garment 210 at the appropriate locations. The garment 210 of the third embodiment has a unibody design that includes a torso portion 212 with integrated sleeves 214 and integrated pant legs (not shown). As with the previous embodiments, the front of the suit 210 includes one or more fasteners 224 enabling the front of the suit to be open and close to facilitate entry into an egress from the suit. A full-over flap 230 is also provided over the fasteners 224. As with the previous embodiments, the suit 210 may be comprised of any material operative to provide a liquid barrier or increase resistance to liquid permeation.

In this third embodiment, the strips of hook and pile material 240, 244 are separately sewn to a separate tube 260 of liquid barrier material (which may be the same as that of the suit 210 itself, or a different kind of liquid barrier material). Where the stitching 262 may extend through the material of the tube 260. This tube 260 is then drawn over the appropriate portion of the jumpsuit 210, such as the sleeve 214 as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 (although not shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, similar tubes are drawn over and bonded to both sleeves, both legs and to the torso section), and the tube 260 is then bonded to the jumpsuit 210 by a pair of heat seal bonding tape strips 264. As shown in FIG. 7, the strips of heat seal tape 264 extend over the longitudinal edges 261 of the tube 260 so as to be bonded to both the outer surface of the sleeve 214 and the outer surface of the tube 260 at these longitudinal edges 261 to thereby provide a fluid seal between the sleeve 214 and the tube 260.

This embodiment allows the strips of hook and pile material 240, 244 to be securely sewn on to the fluid barrier material of the tube 260 so the holes formed by the stitching 262 through this tube 260 do not extend through the suit 210 itself, thereby not threatening the fluid barrier integrity of the suit 210 itself. Therefore, this embodiment allows the hook and pile fastener strips to be attached by stitching without threatening the fluid barrier integrity of the suit material itself. There are numerous varieties of heat seal bonding tape 264 or seam seal tape are available to those of ordinary skill in the art. An example includes PVC Hot Air Seam Sealing Tape for Waterproof Product, Model No. AS 1002 available from New Power Industrial Limited, Shaoguan City, China; and another example includes Heat Seal Tapes (B Series) available from Can-Do National Tape, Nashville, Tenn. Further, as with the other embodiments, alternate adjustability fasteners including, without limitation, zippers, buttons, buckles, snaps, tube and groove fasteners and the like, can be used in place of or in addition to the hook and pile fastener strips 240, 244. With this embodiment, it is also within the scope of the invention that the garment not be a one-piece garment or a jumpsuit garment since the novel aspects incorporated into this third embodiment may be used with other hazardous environment garment designs such as jackets, pull-overs, pants, and the like.

It is also within scope and spirit of the invention to provide a color-coded coordinate system such that a user can quickly adjust the suit to a particular size, while not wearing the suit, without having to guesstimate regarding length and girth adjustments. An exemplary color coded system would associate yellow with a small-sized suit, associate orange with a medium-sized suit, associated red with a large-sized suit, associate green with a extra large-sized suit, and associated blue with an extra extra large-sized suit. This color code is exemplary in nature and may be reconfigured to associated other colors with such sizes or change the colors associated with such sizes.

It is also within scope and spirit of the invention to exchange or supplement the hook and pile adjustable fasteners discussed above with other fasteners operative to maintain the length of a sleeve, pant leg, or torso section. Example of such features include, without limitation, zippers, buttons, buckles, snaps, tube and groove fasteners and the like.

Following from the above description and invention summaries, it should be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that, while the methods and apparatuses herein described constitute exemplary embodiments of the present invention, the invention contained herein is not limited to this precise embodiment and that changes may be made to such embodiments without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the claims. Additionally, it is to be understood that the invention is defined by the claims and it is not intended that any limitations or elements describing the exemplary embodiments set forth herein are to be incorporated into the interpretation of any claim element unless such limitation or element is explicitly stated. Likewise, it is to be understood that it is not necessary to meet any or all of the identified advantages or objects of the invention disclosed herein in order to fall within the scope of any claims, since the invention is defined by the claims and since inherent and/or unforeseen advantages of the present invention may exist even though they may not have been explicitly discussed herein.