QATAR: Construction workers building the stadiums and infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are to benefit from the development of a cooled hard hat.
Combining solar power and phase change material, the cooled headgear has the potential to significantly reduce the skin temperature of construction workers by up to 10ºC. This will allow for safer and more comfortable working conditions in the summer months, according to researchers working on the new system at Qatar University.
Qatar University was approached by Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the body responsible for delivering the stadiums, infrastructure and legacy for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, to come up with a means to reducing heat stress and heat strokes for workers in Qatar and the region during the summer months.
“This type of body-based cooling technology has been used before in US sports for training purposes in hot states, but we have now developed this innovative solution for the construction sector and we believe it has the potential to revolutionise the construction industry in hotter areas of the world,” said Dr Saud Abdul-Aziz Abdul-Ghani, professor at the College of Engineering at Qatar University.
The researcher who previously taught at British universities in Nottingham and Manchester has been working on the project for two years alongside a group of students from Qatar, Jordan, Greece and Egypt.
“Our concept is to use a solar-powered fan to blow air over a cooled material at the top of the helmet, which will then come down over the front of the person’s face and provide a cooler micro-climate for the worker,” he said.
“We are confident that this technology will create more comfortable and safer working conditions, and there is just a minimal increase in weight to the helmet. By reducing the temperature of the head and face, the rest of the body will naturally follow and ensure that workers have a constant flow of cooler air to refresh them throughout their day.
“The material we use inside the helmet is phase changing material (PCM ) contained in a pouch, and this increases the total load of the helmet only by 300 grams. This provides cooling in hot conditions for up to four hours straight. People when working in the sun will get cool air coming down at the front of their faces. When they go for a break, they throw it into a refrigerator and pick up a cold pack and put it into their helmets,” concluded Dr. Saud. “We did research on the best areas to lower body temperature, and it was the head and face. The additional cost is just twenty dollars in comparison to a normal passive helmet, but the results are felt immediately in terms of less lost time on site due to heat-related complaints.”