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Measurement of torso skin temperature under clothing

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The influence of clothing on skin temperature distributions of the torso was investigated during and after cold exposure. Volunteers were cooled for one hour at 5° C while wearing clothing designed to have insulation which was intended to be relatively uniformly distributed. Three different thicknesses of clothing were used. Following thermistor measurements of skin temperatures during the cold exposures, clothing was quickly removed from the upper parts of the body to enable thermographic investigations of the temperature distributions of the front of the bare torso. The evolution of temperature distributions were then studied at different ambient temperatures (5° C and 20° C) as a function of the thickness of the insulation which had previously been worn. The patterns of the temperature distributions, and the range and standard deviation of torso temperatures were all found to be relatively constant in spite of the different thicknesses of clothing worn or in the time-variant mean torso temperatures which resulted. The front torso sites normally used for the determination of mean skin temperatures were found to be on portions of the torso which were cooler than the surrounding regions. It was concluded that a site midway between the umbilicus and a nipple yields a more accurate estimate of mean torso temperature in the conditions of the present study.

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Correspondence to S. D. Livingstone.

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Livingstone, S.D., Reed, L.D., Nolan, R.W. et al. Measurement of torso skin temperature under clothing. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 57, 225–229 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00640667

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Key words

  • Cold
  • Thermography
  • Insulation