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Critical heat stress evaluation of clothing ensembles with different levels of porosity

Critical heat stress evaluation of clothing ensembles with different levels of porosity

Ergonomics 53(8): 1048-1058

A common metric of assessing the evaporative cooling potential of protective clothing is to assess the rate of diffusion of water vapour through the fabric. Another mechanism that supports evaporative cooling is convective transfer. Prototype porous coveralls were constructed to promote convective air flow with 0.0024 mm (0.06 inch) holes representing nominal openings of 0, 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20% of the garment surface area (called P00, P01, P02, P05, P10 and P20). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of these porous coverall configurations to support evaporative cooling. The assessment measures were critical wet bulb globe temperature (WBGT) and apparent evaporative resistance via a progressive heat stress protocol. There was a progressive increase in critical WBGT with increases in convective permeability for P00, Saratoga Hammer, P01, work clothes and P02. There was no further increase for P05, P10 and P20. A similar pattern was found for diffusive permeability, with the exception of Saratoga Hammer, which suggested that the convective permeability could explain evaporative cooling better than diffusive permeability. STATEMENT OF RELEVANCE: Protective clothing often interferes with evaporative cooling and thus increases the level of heat stress. While increased diffusion of water vapour is associated with lower evaporative resistances, the convective movement of water vapour is a dominant mechanism and better explains the role of the clothing in heat stress.

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Accession: 052386063

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 20658399

DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2010.494736

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