Apr 20th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM


Testing Thermal Properties of Clothing

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Uwe Reischl


Information about the thermal properties of clothing is needed to estimate the potential health and safety risks associated with living and working in hot or cold environments. Assessment of these factors has always been difficult and expensive. However, a new system has been developed at BSU that now permits measurement of these parameters accurately and inexpensively. The overall goal of the project was to evaluate the performance of the new system. The investigation consisted of two parts: 1) system calibration, and 2) determining the thermal properties of selected garment combinations. To calibrate the system, the inflatable mannequin was placed in a temperature controlled room where heat input was varied from 0 to 300 watts in 50 watt increments. The input and output air temperatures of the inflatable thermal mannequin were monitored using digital temperature sensors. Several clothing combinations were tested including a “semi-nude” configuration which served as the ”control” for all experiments. The mannequin wore long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a jacket. Whole-body sweating was assessed for both static (standing) and dynamic (running) conditions. System calibration measurements showed a linear relationship for both input and output air over the 300 watt input range. Heat insulation characteristics for the combination of pants, shirt, and jacket showed incremental and proportional increases in body insulation. The measurements of cooling through sweat evaporation showed heat loss exceeding the combined insulation capacity of the clothing. The tests demonstrated that the thermal mannequin system can be used effectively to determine whole body insulation for various clothing systems. The results also suggest that the impact of clothing insulation on whole body heat exchange must be determined for both static and dynamic conditions.