Alexium, Inc is an advanced materials manufacturer based in Greer, South Carolina, focused primarily on thermal management and flame retardants. Eclipsys™, their newest product, is a composite fabric that helps with thermal regulation in body armor by producing a cooling effect equivalent to a five-pound block of ice over a 12-hour time period.
BodyArmorNews.com had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Bob Brookins, CEO of Alexium International, Chris Crawford, Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Gina Lucia, Business Development Manager, to learn more about the Eclipsys cooling technology and its applications.
Eclipsys perpetual cooling
Eclipsys is a composite fabric that can be inserted into body armor to provide responsive cooling for the wearer. This means that the hotter the wearer gets, the more the Eclipsys™ product lowers the thermal stress on the wearer. This fabric is cut to mirror the shape of the body armor panel and then adhered to the non-ballistic side of the body armor. It wraps around to the ballistic side to adhere to the bottom 4 inches. Eclipsys™ only adds an average of 8-10 ounces to the vest, including the front and the back.
“We sell Eclipsys as roll goods (600 linear feet),” Ms. Lucia explained, “So when we sell this to the manufacturer, they cut it to the size of the body armor. Therefore, it can be adapted to any size of any body armor that’s on the market right now. Eclipsys is a patent pending technology that was created for law enforcement, first responders and the military.”
“You don’t have to change the design of the vest,” Dr. Brookins added, “You don’t have to change the ballistic panel. This is simply an additional liner that goes inside the vest.”
Body armor is highly insulative and limits the human body’s natural ability to self-regulate skin temperature on the chest and back. This can lead to heat rashes, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Eclipsys creates a channel to move this heat away from the person and allows the wearer to cool down.
“There are varying technologies on the market that use air and water pumps in attempt to cool the wearer,” Mr. Crawford said, “Those technologies can help move heat away, but the additional weight can hinder the wearer and possibly create more heat stress. Eclipsys™ is an innovative material that provides an active method of taking heat away from the microclimate that exists between the body armor and the person wearing it without having to use electronics.
“It takes all that heat and funnels out into the ambient environment and allows it to dissipate. Here in the US, the typical law enforcement individual works a 10-hour shift and wears the vest the entire shift. Eclipsys has the cooling capacity that is equal to the cooling potential of a ½ pound of ice per hour over that typical shift. Eclipsys can constantly funnel the heat away from their body and maintain thermal stability and lower heat stress due to that body armor.”
One of Eclipsys’s key aspects is its adaptive response technology. This technology ensures that the hotter the body is, the higher the cooling effect.
Dr. Brookins said, “The body armor can only absorb so much heat before it feels excessively hot. Thermal properties of most materials will take on heat in a similar way to how a cup can hold water. Once the cup is full, there is nowhere else for the water to go. The same is true for heat in body armor….once the body armor has absorbed the heat it can, the heat builds up, and the wearer is thermally stressed.
“What makes the Eclipsys technology unique is that it moves the heat away from the person. We can think of Eclipsys as a pipe instead of a cup. You have a pipe to continually move heat away from the person. As a result, the hotter the person gets, the pipe moves the heat away from the person that much quicker. It’s the same as when water pressure builds up on a pipe, which makes the water flow more quickly.”
A look at the future
Thermal management is a key focus area for Alexium, as they see products that have not well-addressed these issues. The company looks to expand their product portfolio. They have new products in development that are looking at thermal management as a multi-faceted problem that needs multi-faceted solutions.
“Our go to market strategy,” Mr. Crawford explained, “is to bring innovative creative solutions to a market involving thermal management. That is where the future lies. That innovation will drive what we develop and how it enters the market.”
“We already have one US-based customer that’s actively using Eclipsys,” Ms. Lucia added, “The response that we’ve had is overwhelming. The biggest interest seems to be in the South American military market right now. We are anticipating a very large year for Eclipsys right now.”
For more information and to evaluate Eclipsys, “the most innovative cooling technology on the market”, please contact our Business Development Manager at 239 270 2498 or [email protected].