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Effects of condensation in clothing on heat transfer

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Author: Lotens, W.A. · Linde, F.J.G. van de · Havenith, G.
Source:Ergonomics, 6, 38, 1114-1131
Identifier: 8280
Keywords: Clothing physiology · Mathematical model · Permeability · Evironmental temperature · Heat exchange · Heat loss · Heat transfer · Moisture · Permeability · Pysiology · Protective clothing · Sweating · Vapor · Body Temperature Regulation


A condensation theory is presented that enables the calculation of the rate of vapour transfer with its associated effects on temperature and total heat transfer inside a clothing ensemble consisting of underclothing, enclosed air, and outer garment. The model is experimentally tested by three experiments: (1) imperme-able garments worn by subjects with and without plastic wrap aroound the skin, blocking sweat evaporation underneath the clothing; (2) comparison of heat loss in impermeable and semi-permeable garments and the associated discomfort and strain; (3) subjects working in impermeable garments in cool and warm environ-ments at two work rates, until tolerance. The measured heat exchange and temperatures are calculated with satisfying accuracy by the model (mean error= 11, SD=10Wm-2 for heat flows and 0.3 and 0.9°C for temperatures, respec-tively). A numerical analysis shows that for total heat loss the major determinants are vapour permeability of the outer garment, skin vapour concentration and air temperature. In the cold the condensation mechanism may completely compensate for the lack of permeability of the clothing as far as heat dissipation is concerned, but in the heat impermeable clothing is more stressful.