Comparison of fabric skins for the simulation of sweating on thermal manikins

Abstract

Sweating is an important thermoregulatory process helping to dissipate heat and, thus, to prevent overheating of the human body. Simulations of human thermo-physiological responses in hot conditions or during exercising are helpful for assessing heat stress; however, realistic sweating simulation and evaporative cooling is needed. To this end, thermal manikins dressed with a tight fabric skin can be used, and the properties of this skin should help human-like sweat evaporation simulation. Four fabrics, i.e., cotton with elastane, polyester, polyamide with elastane, and a skin provided by a manikin manufacturer (Thermetrics) were compared in this study. The moisture management properties of the fabrics have been investigated in basic tests with regard to all phases of sweating relevant for simulating human thermo-physiological responses, namely, onset of sweating, fully developed sweating, and drying. The suitability of the fabrics for standard tests, such as clothing evaporative resistance measurements, was evaluated based on tests corresponding to the middle phase of sweating. Simulations with a head manikin coupled to a thermo-physiological model were performed to evaluate the overall performance of the skins. The results of the study showed that three out of four evaluated fabrics have adequate moisture management properties with regard to the simulation of sweating, which was confirmed in the coupled simulation with the head manikin. The presented tests are helpful for comparing the efficiency of different fabrics to simulate sweat-induced evaporative cooling on thermal manikins.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to express our gratitude to Natividad Martínez for all her kind help with the measurements on the head manikin and Emel Mert for the discussions about fabrics properties. We thank Thermetrics for providing samples of their fabric for the measurements.

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Correspondence to Agnes Psikuta.

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Koelblen, B., Psikuta, A., Bogdan, A. et al. Comparison of fabric skins for the simulation of sweating on thermal manikins. Int J Biometeorol 61, 1519–1529 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-017-1331-3

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Keywords

  • Fabric skin
  • Thermal manikin
  • Thermo-physiological simulator
  • Sweating simulation
  • Evaporative resistance