Relationship between clothing ventilation and thermal insulation.

Abstract

Air layers trapped within a clothing microenvironment contribute to the thermal insulation afforded by the ensemble. Any exchange of air between the external environment and these trapped air layers results in a change in the ensemble's thermal insulation and water vapor resistance characteristics. These effects are seldom taken into account when considering the effects of clothing on human heat balance, the thermal characteristics usually being restricted to intrinsic insulation and intrinsic evaporative resistance measurements on static manikins. Environmental assessments based on these measurements alone may therefore lead to under-(or over-) estimation of thermal stress of the worker. The aim of this study was to quantify the relationship between clothing ventilation and thermal insulation properties. A one-layer, air-impermeable ensemble and a three-layer, air-permeable ensemble were tested using an articulated, thermal manikin in a controlled climate chamber (ta = tr = 10 degrees C, PaH2O = 0.73 kPa). The manikin, which was designed for thermal insulation measurements, was also equipped with a system to determine clothing ventilation. Baseline measurements of clothing ventilation (VT) and thermal insulation (total clothing insulation: I(T)--measured, intrinsic insulation: Icl--calculated) were made of the clothing with the manikin standing stationary in still air conditions. Increased clothing ventilation was induced when the manikin "walked" (walking speeds of 0.37 m/sec and 0.77 m/sec) and by increasing the environmental air speed (Va = 1.0 m/sec). These increases in VT reduced Icl, this being ascribed to the increased heat transfer from the manikin skin surface to the cooler external environment due to the exchange of air between the clothing microenvironment and the external environment. Measured air exchanges were shown to have a potential heat exchange capacity of up to 17 and 161 W/m2 for the one- and three-layer ensembles, respectively, emphasizing the need to take clothing ventilation characteristics into consideration during thermal audits and thermal risk assessments.

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@article{Bouskill2002RelationshipBC, title={Relationship between clothing ventilation and thermal insulation.}, author={L M Bouskill and George Havenith and Kalev Kuklane and Ken C Parsons and W R Withey}, journal={AIHA journal : a journal for the science of occupational and environmental health and safety}, year={2002}, volume={63 3}, pages={262-8} }