Simultaneous derivation of clothing-specific heat exchange coefficients

Wa La Kenney, Da Ja Mikita, Ga Havenith, Sa Ma Puhl, Pa Crosby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Clothing adds resistance to heat exchange between the wearer and the environment. If clothing-specific heat exchange coefficients are known, a combined rational/empirical approach can be used to describe thermal exchange between clothed humans and the environment. However, during exercise these coefficients—typically calculated using thermal manikins—change, primarily due to wetting of the fabric during intense sweating and body movement. A procedure is described that allows for the simultaneous determination of both total insulation (IT) and resistance to water vapor permeation (Re) on exercising clothed subjects without the need to directly measure skin water vapor pressure or continuously weigh the subjects. Two tests are performed by each subject in each clothing ensemble. In one test, ambient water vapor pressure (Pa) is systematically increased in stepwise fashion while dry-bulb temperature (Tdb) is held constant; in the second test protocol Pn is held constant while Tdb is increased. Heat exchange data are collected at the time at which core temperature is forced out of equilibrium by the environment (according to the assumption that heat production is balanced by heat loss immediately prior to this critical environmental limit). Previous studies using similar approaches have typically estimated IT a priori and used this value in the subsequent derivation of Rc. for each clothing ensemble or condition tested. In the proposed method, IT and Rc are derived from the solution of two simultaneous equations based on heat balance data from both tests. This paper describes and critiques this methodology via an error analysis, and compares the coefficients obtained with those from similar trials using other physiological and nonphysiological approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-289
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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