Heat Strain in Personal Protective Clothing: Challenges and Intervention Strategies

  • T. M. McLellan
  • H. A. M. DaanenEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series B: Physics and Biophysics book series (NAPSB)


Humans rely on sweat evaporation during exercise in the heat to promote cooling and to maintain thermal homeostasis. In protective clothing, however, sweat evaporation is severely hampered and this may lead to uncompensable heat strain, where core body temperature continues to rise leading to physical exhaustion and the cessation of work. The tolerance time depends on three main factors: (1) the initial core temperature that may be reduced by heat acclimation and pre-cooling, (2) the final core temperature, which can be increased due to physical training, and (3) the rate of change in body core temperature, which is dependent on the thermal environment, work rate and individual factors like body composition. Methods to reduce heat strain in protective clothing include: (1) increasing clothing permeability for air, (2) adjusting pacing strategy, including work/rest schedules, (3) physical training, and (4) cooling interventions.


Core Temperature Phase Change Material Heat Storage Protective Clothing Pace Strategy 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DRDC TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.TNO Defence, Security and SafetySoesterbergThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Faculty of Human Movement SciencesVU UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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