The STEPO wearer is often sweating and overheated, but the encapsulation prevents access to drinking water, increasing the risk of dehydration and its effect on performance.
To investigate and quantify the human physiological and subjective responses and safety issues of persons working in STEPO suits, laboratory experiments were conducted.
The model, devised to simulate and predict responses to work in warm environments while wearing STEPO, started with an updated version of the popular rational Gagge model (Gagge et al.
After each of the tests, the subjects typically reported feeling very tired and weighed down by the STEPO system.
Inspection of Figures 5-9 show generally good agreement for all parameters at quasi-steady physiological states or in the region preceding thermal exhaustion (32[degrees]C [90[degrees]F] condition) making the simulation model useful for anticipating and judging performance and health risks of STEPO applications.
The sweat rates predicted by the model are essentially unevaporated from the skin of a person in the STEPO suit because of the nearly perfect vapor impermeability of the suit.
A one-piece suit, STEPO is constructed out of five alternating layers of Nomex and Teflon, both materials made by Dupont.
Other Army units integrating STEPO into their inventories are the Technical Escort Unit and Army Chemical Activity/Depot personnel.
STEPO uses a circulating air system, said SBCCOM officials.
The TAP system used an "ice vest." The STEPO cooling system is more like air conditioning, as compared to the ice vest, which isn't a circulating-type configuration, officials said.
When it comes to communication, STEPO is wired so users can converse among themselves and with their central command center.