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    STP1593

    Use of Thermal Mannequins for Evaluation of Heat Stress Imposed by Personal Protective Equipment

    Published: 2016


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    Abstract

    This paper reviews principles of thermal mannequin (TM) operations and discusses appropriate practices in regards to TM use for research and development of personal protective equipment (PPE). A TM measures heat loss from the TM surface to the environment and determines PPE biophysical properties (i.e., thermal and evaporative resistances). Although TM technology continues to advance in terms of controls, data collection, and structure, the basic principles underlying modern TMs remain the same as the first TM developed by the U.S. Army in 1940. A TM measures two primary parameters: power inputs and temperatures. At a state of thermal equilibrium, the power supplied to the TM is equal to heat loss, making it possible to derive the remaining measurement parameters (e.g., thermal and evaporative resistances). User-friendly software provides options for TM control modes, including constant skin temperature (ST), constant heat flux (HF), thermal comfort (TC), and physiological model (PM)-based control. The software also provides different options for data calculation: global (G), parallel (P), and serial (S) methods. For evaluations of PPE, only ST with P or G delivers scientifically valid results of ensemble resistances for either whole-body or regional segments. Although HF, TC, and PM modes are designed for specific applications, they may contradict TM principles, deliver misleading results, and should be used with caution or not used at all. Thermal resistances of eleven ensembles were measured on a TM using the ST method. The results calculated using the P method ranged from 1.24 to 5.79 clo, while results calculated using the S method ranged from 1.43 to 7.98 clo. Differences were approximately 14–38 %. Therefore, proper selection of TM operation modes and calculation methods are crucial to obtain correct results for evaluation of PPE.

    Keywords:

    thermal mannequin, heat stress, personal protective equipment


    Author Information:

    Xu, Xiaojiang
    Biophysics and Biomedical Modeling Division, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA

    Gonzalez, Julio A.
    Biophysics and Biomedical Modeling Division, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA

    Karis, Anthony J.
    Biophysics and Biomedical Modeling Division, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA

    Rioux, Timothy P.
    Biophysics and Biomedical Modeling Division, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA

    Potter, Adam W.
    Biophysics and Biomedical Modeling Division, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA


    Committee/Subcommittee: F23.50

    DOI: 10.1520/STP159320160026