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How Space Thermal Blankets Work

How Space Thermal Blankets Work

  • 2021-05-19

Developed in 1964 by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center for the US space program, the Emergency Space Survival Blanket is made of a thin sheet of plastic (often PET film) coated with a metallic, reflecting agent, resulting in metallized polyethylene terephthalate (MPET) that is typically gold or silver in color and reflects up to 97 percent of radiated heat.



While space blankets work to keep heat out, they also work to keep heat in. Due to their ability to reflect the wearer's body heat back toward the wearer, these blankets had a plethora of potential applications. They've become indispensable to marathon runners as a way to stay warm at the finish line. Hospitals use them to keep patients warm during surgery, as general anesthesia causes people shiver. Campers, climbers, and mountaineers – anyone who may become stranded in cold weather – discover space blankets are an incredibly lightweight and inexpensive addition to their first-aid kits. In 2005, following the devastation of parts of Pakistan by an earthquake, charitable organizations distributed space blankets to the victims. They were used both as ground cover and as warming blankets.




The following are 25 survival applications for Mylar Emergency Blankets:


1. Heat Reflection

While a warming fire is necessary in the wilderness, the warmth generated by the fire is frequently lost due to the cold air zapping it away. By draping your survival blanket across one side of the fire, you can reflect heat back onto yourself or your shelter.


2. Signal for Help

The blanket can be used to summon assistance. The blanket's reflective properties will serve as a beacon for air rescue teams.


3. Create a Solar Oven

The blanket can be used to line a box and serve as the base for a solar oven. In many ways, the blanket resembles aluminum foil. It will heat the interior of the box by reflecting the sun's rays (as long as you cover it with plastic or glass) and cook your meals. It is even suitable for use in cold temperatures.


4. Construct a Shelter

The blankets can be used to construct a variety of shelters. A simple A-frame or lean-to can go a long way toward keeping you dry. Your body heat will assist in warming the shelter, as the blanket will trap it inside.


5. Build a Solar Still

A solar still can be constructed using an emergency blanket. Obtaining safe drinking water can be challenging if you live far from a water source. The blanket, a few green plants, and the sun could be the difference between life and death.


6. Leave Trail Markers

Cutting the blanket into small pieces and using them as trail markers can assist you in navigating back to camp. It can also direct rescuers to your location if you become disoriented and wander aimlessly.


7. Snow Melt

You can spread the blanket out on a sloped surface in a winter survival situation. Place snow on top of the blanket and allow it to melt in the sun. At the corner of the blanket, place a bowl or some other container to catch the water.


8. Make Cordage

You can twist the blanket to create cordage in a pinch. It is also possible to cut it into strips and braid it together.


9. Make a Sling

Cut and fold the blanket into a square to create a sling for an injured arm or shoulder.


10. Create a Belt

Utilize the blanket as an impromptu belt. You never know when you're going to need to scavenge for clothing, and there won't be a mall where you can choose your size. You have to take what you can get, which may require the use of a belt.


11. Avoid Getting Wet in the Rain

Make a hole in the center and drape the blanket over your shoulders like a poncho. This will assist in keeping you dry and warm.


12. Make a Tourniquet

In an emergency, the blanket can be used to form a tourniquet to halt excessive bleeding.


13. Strengthen a Signal

Make an antenna out of a strip of the blanket for a radio or even a phone.


14. Make a Splint

The blanket can be used to secure an injured leg or arm in a splint. Two sticks should be placed alongside the injured limb and secured with strips of the blanket.


15. Collect Rainwater

Rainwater can be collected using a blanket. Create a large, shallow hole, place the blanket on top, and reinforce the corners with heavy rocks. Then sit back and wait for the rain to fill the blanket.


16. Pre-heat Water

Water should be poured into a clear container or a large Ziploc bag. Arrange it on the blanket in direct sunlight. You will have access to warm water for bathing and cleaning.


17. Transport Supplies

Make a handy carrying tool by cutting the blanket into squares. It's ideal for transporting gear, nuts, berries, and other wild edibles.


18. Obtain Fish

Strips can be used as fishing lures. When you are without your fancy fishing gear or worms, the reflective strips can assist in catching the eye and hopefully the mouth of a fish.


19. Preserve Your Feet's Warmth

Cut a square from the blanket and stuff it inside your shoes or boots. This can help prevent frostbite in extremely cold weather. The blanket will assist in trapping the heat generated by your feet and will act as a barrier against the cold.


Space blankets are typically included in emergency, first aid, and survival kits due to their waterproof and windproof nature. This, combined with their light weight and compact size, has made them popular with outdoor enthusiasts and emergency responders. Marathoners and other endurance athletes are frequently given space blankets at the conclusion of races or while waiting for races in cold weather.

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