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Recent years have seen issues related to thermal comfort
gaining more momentum in tropical countries. The thermal
adaptation and thermal comfort index play a significant role in
evaluating the outdoor thermal comfort. In this study, the aim
is to capture the thermal sensation of respondents at outdoor
environment through questionnaire survey and to determine
the discomfort index (DI) to measure the thermal discomfort
level. The results indicated that most respondents had
thermally accepted the existing environment conditions
although they felt slightly warm and hot. A strong correlation
between thermal sensation and measured DI was also
identified. As a result, a new discomfort index range had been
proposed in association with local climate and thermal
sensation of occupants to evaluate thermal comfort. The results
had proved that the respondents can adapt to a wider range of
thermal conditions. Validation of the questionnaire data was
done to prove that the thermal sensation in both places where
data was gathered and interview was done was almost similar
since they are located in the same tropical climate region.
Hence, a quantitative field study on building layouts was done
to facilitate the outdoor human discomfort level based on
newly proposed discomfort index range. The results showed
that slightly shaded building layouts of type- A and B exhibited
higher temperature and discomfort index. The resultant
adaptive thermal comfort theory was incorporated into the
field studies as well. Finally, the study also showed that the DI
values were highly dependent on ambient temperature and
relative humidity but had fewer effects for solar radiation

Gram calorie = quantity of heat required to raise the
temperature of 1 gram of water from 14.5 to 15.5°C.
Calorie = 1000 gram calories
Joule = 4.184 Calories (Calorie = old kcal)
Watt = 1 Joule/second
6 major variables determine how warm a person feels:
• activity
• clothing
• environmental variables:
o - air speed
o - air temperature
o - mean radiant temperature
o -humidity
Physiology of thermal sensation (see McIntyre, 1980)
Over the past 50 years much research effort has been devoted
to developing indices predicting thermal comfort. 3 main
indices are currently used.
1. Fanger's comfort equation
Fanger's basic assumption--thermal comfort is defined in terms
of the physical state of the body rather than that of the
environment i.e. what we actually sense is skin temperature
and not air temperature. For thermal comfort need:
• Thermal balance -- rate of heat loss = rate of heat
This is a necessary but not sufficient condition for comfort e.g.
sweating may lead to heat balance but may not be
• Mean skin temperature -- should be at appropriate level for
comfort. (NB Skin temperature for comfort decreases with
increased activity)
• Sweating -- comfort is a function of a preferred sweating
rate, which is also a function of activity and metabolic rate.
Fanger derived his comfort equation from extensive survey of
literature on experiments. on thermal comfort.
Fanger's Comfort Equation This equation contains terms
which relate to:
• functions of clothing:
o Icl = clothing insulation in clothes
o fcr = ratio of clothed/nude surface area
• functions of activity:
o H = Metabolic heat production (w/m2)
o M = Metabolic free energy production (external
• Environmental variables:
o Ta = Air temperature (°C)
o Tr = Mean radiant temperature (°C)
o v = Relative air speed (m/s)
o Pa = Vapor pressure of water vapor (mb)
Fanger's Equation
(hc = convective transfer coefficient w/m2 K)
H - 0.31(57.4 - 0.07H - Pa) - 0.42(H-58) - 0.0017M(58.7 - Pa) -
0.0014M(34 - Ta) =
3.9 x 10-8fcl {(Tcl + 273)4 - (Tr + 273)4} + fcl hc (Tcl - Ta)
Where the clothing surface temperature, Tcl, is given by
Tcl = 35.7 - 0.0275H + 0.155Iclo {H - 0.31(57.4 - 0.07H - Pa) -
0.42(H - 58) - 0.0017M(58.7 - Pa) - 0.0014M(34 - Ta)}.
In addition to this, discomfort may occur when the skin is
wetted (sweat, water, etc.) and Fanger has produced an
equation for skin wettedness which can be used as a test to
exclude conditions which satisfy the comfort equation:
2. Predicted Mean Vote (PMV)
The problem with Fanger's equation is that when people are
not satisfied, this is not a measure of how uncomfortable
deviation is; therefore Fanger developed PMV = mean vote on
ASHRAE scale (Hot warm slightly warm neutral slightly cool
cool cold). PMV can be predicted from Fanger's equation thus:
PMV = 4 + (0.303 exp(-0.036H) + 0.0275) x {6.57 + 0.46H +
0.31Pa + 0.0017HPa + 0.0014HTa - 4.13 fcl (1 + 0.01dT) (Tcl -
Tr) - hcfcl (Tcl - Ta)}
where Tcl (surface temperature of clothed body) =
35.7 - 0.0275H + 0.155 Iclofcl (4.13 (1 + 0.Old Temp) 1 + 0.155
Iclofcl (4.13 (1 + 0.Old Temp)thc
where hc = 2.4(Tcl - Ta)0.25 or 12.1 square root of v (air speed)
which is greater
and dT = Tr - 22.
Predicted Percentage of Dissatisfied (PPD) Can be derived from
PMV (see transparency) and this relates to the temperature
While PMV gives good results for standard conditions of
sedentary activity and light clothing, it has yet to be validated
across a range of clothing and activity. Also PMV is effectively a
measure of the thermal load of the thermoregulatory system,
therefore a comfortable person who increases his metabolic
rate by say 20 w/m2 (0.34 met) will experience the same
change in thermal load whatever his clothing insulation BUT
with high clo values the resulting increasing skin and body
temperature must be greater than for low clo values and
therefore one intuitively should expect a greater change in
thermal sensation.
In experimental tests of thermal comfort Fanger's equation has
proved very successful. The experiments all show that comfort
relates to the perceived skin temperature and not to
environmental variables or clothing. Experiments also show
that for sedentary work and light clothing Ss led to a preferred
temperature close to the 25.6°C predicted by Fanger's
equation. Also to date no evidence has been found for
systematic individual differences in preferred temperatures.
There are no effects of age, sex, race, etc.; differences in
preferred temperatures often due to clothing differences.
3. Skin wettedness equation
w= (H - 58) / (4.6hc (57.4 - 0.07H - Pa)) + 0.06
when w is too high, leading to discomfort.
However, upper limit of w depends on metabolic rate and
therefore limit is estimated using
w 0.0012M + 0.15
Age effects - non-significant
Nationality - non-significant
Sex effects - non-significant
Time-of-day effects - non-significant
Practical Applications
Fanger's comfort equation is comprehensive and complex and
therefore too cumbersome for manual calculation each time. So
it is practical to use the 28 comfort diagrams produced by
Fanger, P.O.
1a) Staff in office engaged in sedentary work
(70 w/m2 - 1.2 met.)
Clothing light (0.5 clo)
Relative humidity (50%)
Horizontal air velocity = 0.5 m/s
ta = tr = 26.6°C
(ta = air temperature, tr = mean radiant temperature)
1b) increase clothing to 1 clo: ta = tr = 23.3°C
1c) increase activity to 1.5 met (90 w/m2) - e.g. shop assistants
walking round air velocity 4 m/s, so the ta = 20.8°C.
2) Swimming baths with rest places
Sedentary (1 met = 60 w/m2)
nude (0 clo)
RH = 80%
relative air velocity 0.1 m/s
ta = tr = 28.0°C
See transparency 2
Suppose swimming gala for spectators in light clothes
(0.5 clo)
ta = tr = 25.1°C
Example 3 (4) - air temperature is not equal to radiant
Winter conditions. Mean radiant temperature in long distance
bus calculated to be 5°K lower than air temperature. What air
temperature is necessary for passenger comfort?
Activity - 1 met (60 w/m2 - resting)
Clothes - 1 clo (not overcoats)
Air velocity - .2 m/s
RH - 50%
ta = 25.5°C
tr = 20.5°C for comfort.
Example 4a (5a)
Air conditioned theatre. Sedentary people(60 w/m2 = 1 met)
Clothes - 1 clo
RH = 50%
Air velocity .1 m/s
ta = tr = 23°C
4b) (5b) During theatre performance: body heat radiation leads
to increased tr 4 K higher than ta. Assume tr now 25°C. What is
new ta for comfort? ta = 21.25°C
Subjective temperature (SUBT)
The problem with Fanger's equation and SET is that both are
complex and have to be evaluated by computer. Consequently
a simpler, practical index based on physical variables which
gives a good approximation for comfort has enormous value.
This is McIntyre's SUBT.
TSUB(subjective temperature) = temperature of a uniform
enclosure with Ta = Tr , v = 0.1 m/s and RH = 50%
Based on this it is possible to simplify Fanger's equation.
TSUB = 33.5 - 3 Iclo - (0.08 + 0.05 Iclo) H (where H is metabolic
heat production).
For clothing insulation up to 1.5 clo and activities up to 150
w/m2, the error of Fanger's equation is .5K.
When air speed is low (v 0.15 m/s) and at temperatures near
enough to comfort for humidity not to have an appreciable
effect on warmth, subjective temperatures is a function of ta
and tr thus:
TSUB = 0.56 ta + 0.44 tr , v 0.15 m/s
At higher air speeds:
TSUB = .44tr + 0.56 (5 - (square root of 10v)(5 - ta))
.44 + .56 (square root of 10v)
Thermal Conditions
One of earliest reasons for building was to create shelter from
elements. The desire to keep dry and warm/or cool (depending
on climate) has generated a variety of architectural forms
which have evolved to increase the impermeability of the
building envelope to natural conditions and through
environmental engineering, allow us to create our own interior
environmental conditions. Basic model of thermal conditions
(insert model)
Our living bodies generate heat because we are homiothermic
(warmblooded) creatures. The rate at which heat is produced
depends primarily on our metabolic rate.
Metabolic rate = our ability to generate heat is mostly a
function of our level of muscular activity. Some of the energy
generated by muscular activity will be directly translated into
work (force x distance) and the excess energy will be dissipated
as heat.
Met units - Each of us in this classroom is producing about 1
met (1 unit of metabolic rate) of waste heat.
Because, as we shall see, heat exchange with our environment
is primarily via the skin, the met unit is defined in terms of both
heat energy and surface area.
1 met = 58.2 w/m2 (SI units)
= 18.4 Btu/h/ft2
(i.e. 58.2 x 3.412/10.76 = 198.5784/10.76 = 18.4
1 watt = 3.423 Btu/h
1 m2 = 10.76 ft2
1 Btu = amount of heat required to increase temperature of 1
pound (1 pint) of water by 1 DEGREE F = heat produced by 1
standard wooden match. Every square foot of body gives off
heat of about 19 matches/hour.
To increase temperature of 1 pound of water from 32°F to
212°F requires 180 Btu (i.e. 212-32=180)
Du Bois area: The surface area of skin of an "average" adult is
1.8 m2 (1.8 x 10.76 = 19.368 ft2) The total heat production of
an "average" person at rest per hour is 58.2 x 1.8 = 104.76 =
105 watts (18.4 x 19.368 = 356.37 = 356 Btu's per hour).
The Du Bois area normally varies between 1.3 m2 (14 ft2) and
2.2 m2 (23.7 ft2) and in any setting the heat produced by
sedentary adults will vary between about 75.66 watts (271
Btu's) for 1.3 m2 and 128 watts (459 Btu's) for 2.2 m2.
TABLE 2.1 Metabolic Rates for Typical Tasks
Activity Metabolic rate, a (met units), b
Reclining 0.8
Seated, quietly 1.0
Sedentary activity (office, dwelling, lab, school) 1.2
Standing, relaxed 1.2
Light activity, standing (shopping, lab, light industry) 1.6
Medium activity, standing (shop assistant, domestic work,
machine work) 2.0
High activity (heavy machine work, garage work) 3.0
a) For whole-body average heat production in watts and Btu
per hour (see course text)
b) One met = 58.2 W/m2 = 18.4 Btu/h ft2 In this room with 40-
50 bodies, waste body heat alone is equivalent to a 4-5 Kw fire
burning! In most buildings the problem is one of cooling, not
heating, for much of the year.
Thus far we have discussed people as heat sources. Now let us
look at measures of heat in the environment.
How is heat output measured for people?
At rest, 20-30% body heat is produced by muscles. During
strenuous exercise for about 1 minute the heat output from
muscles can be 40 X that from all other tissues. The degree of
muscular activity is one of the most important ways in which
the body regulates its temperature.
Fundamentals of Psychrometry (Once mastered, can
understand thermal comfort & ventilation (HVAC))
Atmospheric influences on our sensation of thermal conditions
depend on the interaction of heat, moisture, and air. The study
of the interaction of these components is termed psychrometry
(the study of moist air)
Heat (enthalpy) = sum of internal energy of a body, and the
product of its volume x pressure)
Enthalpy = sensible heat + latent heat
Sensible heat = the type of heat that increases the temperature
of the air e.g. an electric fire.
Latent heat = the heat that is present in increasing moisture in
the air e.g. when boil a kettle or use steam humidifier. (To
evaporate 1 pound of water at 212°F requires 1061 Btu which
is approximately 6 x energy required to heat 1 pound of water
from 32°F to 212°F). This moisture in the air doesn't necessarily
change air temperature but the heat energy it contains can be
released when this moisture condenses (latent heat of
Air - as air temperature rises, its volume increases and its
capacity to hold moisture increases.
Warmer air is less dense (because of increased volume) and it
As air temperature decreases so its volume decreases and its
capacity to hold moisture decreases.
Colder air is more dense (because of decreased volume) and it
Moisture - the amount (mass) of moisture present in air at a
given volume and temperature is termed the absolute humidity
or moisture content. More commonly, we talk about the
humidity ratio or relative humidity of the air.
Measuring Temperature
Air temperature (ta) - conversion from degrees C (°C) to
degrees F (°F)
(C/5 x 9) + 32
0 32 100 212
Typically measured by a mercury-in-glass thermometer.
To estimate the air temperature of a room this should be taken
at a central location and at about face level (avoiding bright
sunlight or other asymmetrical heat sources). Vertical effects
are especially problematic in buildings.
Mean radiant temperature (MRT) is the average temperature of
the surfaces in a cubical room. Mean radiant temperature may
be higher or lower than the air temperature in a room. Mean
Radiant Temperature (tr) is the uniform temperature of the
surface of an imaginary enclosure where the radiant exchange
of heat between this enclosure and a man would be equal to
the radiant exchanges in the actual environment.
Plane Radiant Temperature (tpr) is the uniform surface
temperature of an enclosure in which the incident radiant flux
on one side of a small plane element is the same as in the
actual environment.
Radiant Temperature Asymmetry ((delta) tpr) is the
difference between the plane radiant temperature of the two
opposite sides of a small plane element.
Operative temperature - an average of the air temperature and
the MRT. The operative temperature is usually made using a
globe thermometer placed at trunk level.
Globe thermometer.
This consists of a thin-walled copper sphere painted black
containing a thermometer with its bulb at the center of the
sphere (typically of diameter 150 mm). The globe thermometer
is suspended and allowed to reach thermal equilibrium with its
surroundings (usually 20 minutes). With a far-inside globe,
equilibrium time is 6 minutes, and using a thermocouple
instead of a mercury thermometer the time is 10 minutes. The
equilibrium temperature depends on both convection and
radiation transfer, however by effectively increasing the size of
the thermometer bulb the convection transfer coefficient is
reduced and the effect of radiation is proportionally increased.
In equilibrium the net heat exchange is zero.
Because of local convective air currents the globe temperature
(tg) typically lies between the air temperature (ta) and the true
mean radiant temperature (tr). The faster the air moves over
the globe thermometer the closer tg approaches ta. NB If there
is zero air movement, tg = tr.
All surfaces are made of materials which conduct heat at
varying rates (thermal conductivity). Our thermal sensations
are not good indicators of surface temperature but rather we
sense the rate of heat loss or gain e.g. in a thermally stable
setting a tile floor will feel colder than a carpeted floor even
though they have the same surface temperature because tile
has a higher thermal conductivity than carpet. Surface
temperatures can be measured by thermometers placed in
direct contact with the surface of interest. Surfaces can be a
significant source of discomfort.
Humidity (absolute humidity) refers to the dampness/wetness
in the air in the form of water vapor, that is, the mass of water
vapor present in a unit volume of air (moisture content).
In S.I. units it is expressed in grams of water per cubic metre of
air or space. (nb 454 grams = 1 lb/ 1m3 = 1.308 yd3 = .027
oz/yd3). On a normal day humidity remains fairly constant but
it is relative humidity which changes considerably.
RELATIVE HUMIDITY is of more practical importance.
RH = ratio of mass of water vapor present in air at a
temperature/ maximum water vapor content of that air at that
Relative humidity is the ratio of the prevailing partial pressure
of water vapor to the pressure of saturated water vapor at the
prevailing temperature. Usually talk of %RH If the air contains
its maximum water vapor it has a %relative humidity of 100%
and is said to be SATURATED. This situation is very unusual
inside buildings except at very cold surfaces e.g. breath on cold
Dew Point is the temperature at which atmospheric water
vapor starts to condense when the air is cooled - major problem
for condensation in buildings.
As air temperature falls at night the maximum vapor content of
the air falls although the actual vapor content remains
constant, and the relative humidity increases.
When the air cools sufficiently that the maximum vapor
content = actual vapor content then RH = 100% and water
begins to condense from the air to give dew, especially at
ground level (because ground is colder than surrounding air).
This air temperature is called the dew point (whether inside or
outside). When air temperature continues to fall dew freezes to
give frost. (Inside buildings typically get dew or frost on coldest
surfaces e.g. windows).
As air temperature rises so the maximum vapor content rises
and as air temperature increases at a constant moisture
content, relative humidity decreases. (RH is measured using
sling psychrometer (whirling hygrometer) or a hygrometer). to
be described later.
The molecules of a liquid like water are in a constant state of
motion. As temperature increases so the movement becomes
more hectic e.g. note bubbling/spitting at surface of boiling
water, and eventually some break loose into air. These
molecules create a pressure (vapor pressure) in the air space
above the liquid and as the temperature of the liquid increases
so the vapor pressure increases (e.g. boiling pan of water may
lift the lid off). For any liquid there is a maximum pressure for
any temperature and this is called the SATURATED VAPOR
PRESSURE (SVP). SVP = 100% humid air, above this surplus
water vapor condenses out. Explain SVP table.
Knowledge of air temperature, relative humidity, and either
moisture content or SVP allows easy calculation of the dew
e.g. If air is at 20°C and 40% RH what will be the dew point?
i) By moisture content method: at 20°C air can hold 17.118
g/m3 of water.
40% of 17.118 g/m3 = 6.847 g/m3
Air at 5.2°C can hold 6.847 g/m3 and this is the dew point.
ii) By SVP method: At 20°C SVP = 2338 N/m2
40% of 2338 = 935 N/m2
from table, 935 N/m2 = SVP for 6°C
dew point approximately 6°C (which is slightly above actual
dew point).

Hygrometers (sometimes called psychrometers) These
instruments measure relative humidity. The most commonly
used instruments are:
Wet and dry bulb hygrometers (whirling hygrometers, sling
Consists of a dry bulb (Td) and a wet bulb (Tw). The two
thermometers are read and the difference noted.
Td - Tw = Tdiff The wet bulb temperature will typically be lower
because the water takes heat from its surroundings (including
the thermometer bulb) to supply latent heat for water
evaporation (latent heat of vaporization). From the dry bulb
temperature and the temperature difference, the percentage
relative humidity can be found from a table. This is a quick and
accurate way of measuring RH. Other devices for measuring RH
Dew point hygrometer - consists of a plain glass tube about 25
mm in diameter with a highly polished nickel cap. To use this:
i) the air temperature is taken.
ii) ether is poured into the tube to a depth of 25 mm (to cover
the thermometer bulb).
iii) air is blown through the ether which causes this to
evaporate (ether is a very volatile
liquid which boils at blood temperature).
iv) the temperature at which dew starts to appear on the cap is
Suppose air temperature = 20°C
dew point temperature = 8°C
Air at 20°C can contain 17.118 g/m-3. However, since the dew
appeared at 8°C, this is equal to the temperature at which the
air would be saturated.
Air at 8°C can contain 8.215 g/m-3 (from table)
%RH = 8.215/17.118 x 100 = .48 x 100 = 48%
Air velocity
Velocity of air at a point in a space. Measured in ft/min. or
NB 1 fpm = .00508 m/s
Direct effects:
• Heat stress
o heat stroke (hyperthermia)
o hypertension?
o decreased fertility (decreased spermatogenesis)
• Cold stress
o frostbite
o hypothermia
• Indirect effects:
o micro-organism growth
o mites and insects
o off-gassing of pollutants
Both hot and cold conditions can impair the performance of a
variety of activities. Both warm and cool conditions can
influence arousal, and both can decrease this and make one
feel drowsy.
Psychomotor performance studies
a.Wilkinson et al.(1964) - Auditory vigilance task. Subjects'
body temperature maintained by a vapor barrier suit. Rectal
temperature measured. Subjects had to detect infrequent
longer duration tones embedded in a series of tones.
Decreased vigilance performance indicates decreased arousal.
Results showed that when core temperature was increased
slightly to 37.3°C, performance increased, but higher
temperatures led to speeding of reactions. Performance on a
secondary adding task did, however, decrease.
b.Mackworth (1952) -- looked at errors made by Morse
Code operators and found that all subjects had more errors
when SET >33°C, but that the less skilled operators showed
even greater performance decrements.
c. Wing (1965) -- reviewed studies of temperature and
mental task performance.
General agreement that ability to perform mental tasks
decrease above 33°C air temperature (30°CET).
1. COLD STRESS (Refrigerators/cold stores, Arctic/Antarctic
Sea, oil rigs/divers etc.
Less of a hazard than heat stress because:
• effects are slower to develop
• behavioral interventions easier - clothes, fire, shelter
But it leads to hypothermia i.e. core temperature below 35°C,
which can be fatal.
Shivering is body's reaction to cold, but temperature onset of
shivering depends on skin temperature, which in turn depends
on fat thickness of subjects.
People with more subcutaneous fat have more insulation
against direct conduction losses through skin when cold (i.e.
when there is peripheral vasoconstriction). Note when hot,
heat loss is via peripheral vasodilation not conduction, that is,
there is little difference between thin and fat people.
Fat people start shivering at lower skin temperatures and it
takes longer for shivering to start. Also Keating (1969) showed
that after 30 minutes in water at 10°C, body temperature
decreased 2°C for thin people but was virtually unchanged for
people with 20 mm fat thickness. In part this may be why we
tend to increase weight in winter months and decrease in
2. Cold Acclimatization
Acclimatization to heat is a well-established response to
repeated exposure to heat stress. It is not even clear whether
general cold acclimatization actually occurs.
3. Local acclimatization
Good evidence for local adaptation of hands exposed to cold.
This occurs because of increased blood flow to hands.
Eskimos have increased blood flow to hands which allows
them to maintain dexterity at temperatures below those for
Europeans. Also, in cold pressor test (10°C), Eskimos felt no
pain, only cold, but Europeans felt deep, aching pain. The same
effects have been found with Arctic and Northern fishermen.
Using hands in cold can affect manual dexterity by decreasing
flexibility of digits and decreasing sensitivity. At a critical
temperature of fingers at 6°C, there is a dramatic decrease in
sensitivity as fingers become numb. Air speed is an important
contributor to cooling of skin temperature.
4. Wind Chill Index
WCI = (10 (square root of v) + 10.45 - v)(33 - Ta)
where v = air velocity (m/sec) and Ta = air temperature
WCI effectively expresses rate of cooling of skin.
Gloves - can substantially protect fingers from wind chilling and
cold, although dexterity may be decreased.


Heat, Cold, and Performance: we are still remarkably ignorant
of the body's thermoregulatory mechanisms!
1. Heat balance - the heat exchange process
The living body constantly produces heat and this must be
transferred to the environment. Heat balance (thermal
equilibrium) is the balance between the rate of heat production
and the rate of heat loss.
Heat balance equation
Heat production = the rate of heat production = M - W where:
M = total rate of energy production which can be found from
the rate of oxygen consumption (1 litre O2 = 5 kcal = 20,000
joules)(1cal = 4.184j)(1 kcal = 1000 cal)
W = rate at which external work (force x distance) is being
M - W = total energy - work energy
Heat loss = the rate of heat loss = R + C + E + L + K + S where:
R = radiation (heat loss or gain) between skin or clothing
surface and surrounding surfaces e.g. walls, sun etc. At rest, in
a thermoneutral environment (21°C), 60% heat loss from nude
body is by radiation. Mention radiant asymmetry.
C = convection (air close to body absorbs heat ), which is a form
of conduction to the surrounding air and is the heat loss (or
gain) by the mixing of air close to the body surface.
2 Types of Convection :
 natural convection (in still air the body produces an
upward flow of warm air) and
 forced convection (movement of air past the body e.g.

At rest as above, convection accounts for 18% of heat loss.

E = evaporation. The evaporation of water through the outer
layers of skin (insensible perspiration) or from the skin surface
when this is wetted by sweat (perspiration) or some other
external agency.
L = warming and wetting of air which is inhaled and then
exhaled (this is sometimes included under E).
K = conduction to the surfaces by direct contact with skin or
clothing e.g. sitting on a cold surface etc. This is sometimes
included under C. At rest as above, this accounts for 3% of heat
S = rate of storage of heat in the body.
Heat balance exists when
R + C + K = 72% of heat loss
Eskin = 15% (Excretion of feces and urine = 3%)
Llungs = 7% exhaled, 3% warming inhaled
Ideally S should equal 0 when the body is in heat balance i.e.
heat production = heat loss with no storage.
In practice the body rarely attains or maintains heat balance
and many factors influence the relative importance of the heat
exchange processes.
2. Thermoregulation - the simplest thermoregulatory model
divides the body into two components: the core and the shell.
Shell - skin temperature varies over a greater range than core
temperature. Skin temperature depends primarily on
environmental conditions.
Core - core temperature is controlled within a relatively narrow
band by thermoregulatory systems. Core temperature depends
primarily on work rate.

Heat Exchange Mechanisms - 3 Main Physiological

a. Vasomotor - all skin needs some blood supply to keep it
alive but skin blood flow can be increased many times this basic
level. Increasing skin blood flow raises skin temperature and
increases heat transfer to the environment, and cools the core.
Decreasing skin blood flow cools the skin and reduces heat
transfer to the environment and warms the core. Changes in
skin blood flow are most marked at the extremities of limbs
(hands and feet) and less marked in the trunk and head. This is
why hands and feet frequently feel cold first.
b. Sweating - (max. continued total sweat rate = 1 litre/hour;
max. short-term = 10-15 litres per 6 hours; always 650 ml/day.).
As skin temperature approaches core temperature, transferring
heat from the core to the skin becomes increasingly difficult. In
hot environments the evaporation of sweat from the skin
surface cools this thereby improving heat transfer from the
appocrine - forehead, back, palms of hands, armpits - protein-
containing sweat
eccrine - water sweat from all other skin areas (latent heat of
water is 600 cal/gm)
c. Shivering - when skin blood flow is minimal there may be
excessive heat loss from the core by conduction through the
shell tissues. Maintenance of core temperature requires an
increase in heat production and shivering is disorganised
muscular activity which has this effect, and increases heat
production 300-400%. To evaporate max. sweat takes 6000-
9000 kcal, which equals heat of a lumberjack in cold weather!.
3. Thermal adjustment systems - when the body changes
from one thermal environment to another the following
mechanisms are brought into operation:
a. Changing from a warm to a cold environment entails the
-skin becomes cool
-blood is routed away from the skin to the core where it is
warmed before flowing back to the skin
-core temperature rises slightly then falls with prolonged
-shivering and "gooseflesh" may occur If the body stabilizes
then large areas of the skin will receive little blood. If cooling
continues then eventually core temperature falls producing
hypothermia which may result in death. (Anecdote re: Chris's
death from hypothermia following caving incident, not just
limited to old people.)
b. Changing from a cold environment to a warm one entails the
-more blood is routed from the core to the skin surface thereby
raising skin temperature
-core temperature falls but with continued exposure rises again
-sweating begins
If the body stabilizes then large areas of the skin will receive
blood and sweating will occur. If warming of the body
continues eventually core temperature rises, producing
hyperthermia (heatstroke) which may result in death.
4. Acclimatization to heat and cold. Acclimatization consists
of a series of physiological adjustments that occur in a person
who is habitually exposed to either hot or cold conditions. It
has been said that acclimatization consists of two processes:
"getting used to it" and "not getting used to it"!
Acclimatization to heat: In hot climates physiological
adaptations occur which help to cool the body:
-water intake increases (note it's better to drink warm fluids
because these will elevate core temperature and encourage
sweating to increase cooling, whereas cold fluids decrease core
temperature, which discourages sweating to decrease cooling,
which increases discomfort.
-sweating increases. With "training" sweat glands produce
more sweat.
-blood volume increases and more blood is diverted to the skin
(may even get a "red" face)
-behavioral changes occur: less clothing is worn, or heat is
avoided e.g. resorting to an air-conditioned room (an example
of getting used to not getting used to it because such behavior
does not produce physiological acclimatization).
Heat acclimatization is best achieved by actually doing work in
hot climates e.g. exercise. The best results occur when
exposure lasts for at least one hour or at least every other or
every day for at least 2 to 3 weeks (some acclimatization occurs
within 4-7 days, and reasonably in 12-14 days). Discontinuation
of heat exposure results in reversion to the unacclimatized
state in a few weeks. Booster exposures every week or so can
maintain a high level of acclimatization. This process has been
confirmed by experimental studies e.g. Lind & Bass, 1963.
Lind & Bass (1963) - Men worked each of 9 days for 100
minutes at a time at an energy expenditure of 300 kcal hr-1 in a
hot climate. Core temperature and pulse rate decreased and
sweat rate increased with acclimatization.

Acclimatization to cold: The processes of cold acclimatization

are less clear. Unlike sweating, the rate of shivering does not
increase with prolonged exposure to cold. However, other
changes do take place.
-the body core contracts so that much more of the body tissues
are in the shell. The contracted core is now better insulated
and therefore less heat is needed to maintain core
-there is a tendency to reduce blood flow to the extremities and
so the use of hands is more difficult and is normally reduced.
However, prolonged use of the hands in cold climates results in
more blood being diverted to these e.g. herring filleters on the
North Sea Coast used to work in the open with their hands
either immersed in near-freezing water or exposed, wet to the
wind. For an unacclimatised person this rapidly produces
severe pain, yet the filleters worked all day with little
discomfort. Such changes may take a long time (months or
years) to occur.
The effects of acute or prolonged exposure to different
temperatures on skin and the body core are summarized
1. Ambient Environment: Thermal Sensation
Thermal receptors - although attempts have failed to identify
the actual receptors responsible for thermal sensations,
experimental studies using heat pulses and recording electrical
reactions suggest that these receptors lie at a depth of about
200 (10-6m) below the skin surface. These studies also suggest
that there are separate receptors for:
cold - max. firing rate = 30°C; cease to fire at 38°C; fire again
and warm - max. firing rate = 40°C.

Some researchers propose that the sensation of "hot" arises

from both warm and cold receptors firing. Skin temperature
and activity of receptors also varies by body site.
Skin is generally sensitive to heat and cold over most of body
area, but most sensitive places are:
heat receptors: fingertips, nose, elbows (hence hold hot drink
cupped in hands and close to face on cold day)
cold receptors: upper lip, nose, chin, chest, fingers (hence sip
cold drinks on hot day, put fan at face level, etc.)
Fingertips are most sensitive to rate of heat conduction (hence
steel at room temperature feels colder than wood at room
Estimated by taking the weighted sum of skin temperatures
over various parts of body:
Tskin = 0.12Tback + 0.12Tchest + 0.12Tabdomen + 0.14Tarm +
0.19Tthigh + 0.13Tleg + 0.05Thand + 0.07Thead + 0.06Tfoot
Mean body temperature
Derived from weighted sum of body core (rectal) temperature
and mean skin temperature.
Tbody = 0.67Trectal + 0.33Tskin
As with all sensory receptors, thermal receptors show
adaptation e.g. one hand in cold water, one hand in hot water,
after a time neither feels cool or hot. Both hands put in tepid
water and cold hand feels warm and warm hand feels cold.
Normal range of adaptation temperatures for skin is 29°C
(84.2°F) to 37°C (98.6°F) although this differs for different parts
of the body.


Although we talk about rooms as being warm or cold, we
cannot sense air temperature directly--what we sense is
temperature at skin receptors. For this reason it is very difficult
to predict person's sensations of warmth or cold from air
temperature or skin temperature.
Relationship between skin temperature and sensation is
different above and below thermal neutrality. Below neutral
leads to decreased skin temperature with decreasing ambient.
temperature and as temperature falls below 33.5°C
(92°F)(comfortable level), cold sensation increases and slower
increase of cold discomfort.
Above thermal neutrality, there is an increased temperature
sensation until sweating starts and then there is only a slow
sensation of increased temperature. Thermal discomfort
doesn't follow temperature sensation directly. In part this is
because of effect of skin wettedness and this seems to be a
good predictor of warm discomfort.
skin wettedness = actual evaporation loss from skin / max.
evaporation loss from skin if it were completely wet
e.g. if skin wettedness = 0.5 this equals 1/2 body wet and 1/2
body dry.
An increase in humidity will not affect sweat rate but will
decrease maximum theoretical heat loss via evaporation and
effectively decreasing skin wettedness. This increase is usually
perceived as "stickiness".
Plotting discomfort ratings against skin wettedness gives good
predictive relationships
Rating scales of thermal sensation have been in use for over 50
years. Two scales commonly still in use are the Bedford scale
(UK) and the ASHRAE scale (USA). The Bedford scale
confounds warmth and comfort and so the ASHRAE scale is
better. Note that with the ASHRAE scale a person is thermally
comfortable at the neutral point i.e. the point of no thermal
sensation, and so thermal comfort is here defined as the
absence of thermal discomfort.