Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Kyle. Kyle Wonders, “How does a wet suit work to keep you warm?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Kyle!

When you think of places on Earth that you'd like to explore, what comes to mind? A deserted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? A mountaintop deep in the Himalayas? A jungle deep in the heart of the Amazon rainforest?

All of those places would make great places to explore. If you look at a globe, though, you'll realize that some of the most unexplored places on Earth are underwater. After all, most of Earth is covered by oceans!

If you plan to go exploring deep under the sea using scuba gear, there's one essential item you're going to need: a wetsuit. Sometimes called a "wettie" by surfers, wetsuits offer protection from cold water temperatures for a variety of watersports.

If you've ever seen a wetsuit, you might think that its purpose is to keep out water. However, that's not the case at all! Wetsuits aren't designed to keep you dry. Their purpose is to keep you warm, and they do it by allowing you to get just a little bit wet!

It may seem odd to think about surfers wearing wetsuits. After all, don't surfers usually surf in warm places, like California? It's easier to understand, though, when you know more about the scientific properties of air and water.

Water conducts heat away from your body about 20 times more quickly than air does. Air that's 80 degrees may feel plenty hot. Water that's 80 degrees, however, is still about 18 degrees cooler than your core body temperature. Once you're submerged in that water, it won't take long to feel quite cool.

A wetsuit keeps you warm by trapping a very thin layer of water against your body. To work properly, a wetsuit should fit very tightly against the body. In addition, the thicker it is, the warmer it will keep you.

As soon as you enter the water, the wetsuit allows a tiny amount of water to form a thin layer against your skin. Your skin rapidly heats up this thin layer of water to very near your body temperature.

The wetsuit then holds in that heat because of the materials it's made of. Most wetsuits are constructed of a thick layer of a special type of rubber called neoprene. Neoprene contains thousands of tiny air bubbles that act as insulators, trapping heat inside the wetsuit rather than releasing it into the water.

Wetsuits come in a wide variety of designs. Some are full body suits. Others consist of shorts and short sleeves. Many wetsuits have thicker layers around the torso to keep core temperature up, while the extremities are covered in thinner layers to allow greater ease of movement.

In addition to keeping you warm, wetsuits can offer valuable protection. Even in warm waters, you may find divers wearing wetsuits to protect themselves from jellyfish stings or sharp-edged reefs.

There's some dispute as to who invented the wetsuit. Americans Jack O'Neill and Dr. Hugh Bradner both developed wetsuits made from neoprene in the 1950s.

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