An affectionate, time-worn habit among my friends and family is to tease me about how temperature sensitive I am. Perhaps it is the effect of covering thermal processing for more than 20 years (though I doubt it), but I can sense even a degree or two difference in the ambient temperature. Fortunately for me (and those around me), I’ve gathered an arsenal of supplies to help offset the ups and downs and keep me within my own personal sweet zone. I will admit, some look a bit more ridiculous than others; unfortunately for the curious, I generally sport the most outlandish items only in private. Aside from an effective HVAC system and the kooky apparel, electric space heaters and heating pads, battery-powered water misters and evaporative cooling wraps are never far from me in the coldest and warmest months.

Imagine my excitement when I read about research into flexible heating patches that can be sewn into your clothes. Developed by engineers at Rutgers University and Oregon State University, the personal heating patches consist of tiny silver wires fused to polyester using intense pulses of light that create swatches to be sewn into garments. Though the research is not the first personal heating swatch fabric to be developed, the Rutgers/Oregon State technology generates more heat per patch and is reportedly more durable. If such patches could somehow be paired with the plastic clothing materials that cool the wearer being developed elsewhere, I would replace my entire wardrobe.

All kidding aside, such fabrics — depending on how much heat they are able to generate or retain — could find use in industrial processes. Thermal blanket insulation wraps, flexible heaters, and even low level heating applications such as freeze protection seem possible.

Staying warm through the winter months should be a bit easier this year since I have some travel to warmer climates planned. If you’ll be at any of the following trade shows, I’d love to meet up.

  • Meet me, publisher Darrell Dal Pozzo and many others on the PH team at AHR Expo in Atlanta. You can find us at the show on January 14-16 in booth B1439.
  • Meet me at the Cooling Technology Institute’s annual meeting in New Orleans on February 10-14. Though we won’t have a booth, drop me an email or give me a call — I’d love to meet up.
  • Find the Process Cooling team at the annual conference of the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration in Phoenix on March 3-6.

If we cannot meet up in person, another way to connect is via our webinars. A full slate is schedule for 2019, and remember you can visit to view already-produced webinars. Among the sessions available on-demand are:

  • Are some industrial boilers safer than others by design? “Steam Boiler Safety by Design” looks at how a safer plant may start with the equipment selection process.
  • “Design, Operation and Troubleshooting Ovens and Furnaces” looks at major design elements affecting equipment performance.
  • Explosions and fires in fuel-fired and electric fluid heaters can cause loss of life, property and production. “How to Select and Operate Fluid Heaters for Efficiency, Quality and Safety” notes that the causes of most failures can be traced to human errors.
  • “Safer Steam Boilers: From Minor Burns to Major Events” notes that steam boiler safety begins with installation and continues with operation and maintenance. Being aware of the issues that can affect safety is critical to working in a safer environment.

Stay warm, stay safe and welcome to 2019.