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The effects of solar radiation and black body re-radiation on thermal comfort

journal contribution
posted on 12.06.2014 by Simon Hodder, Ken Parsons
When the sun shines on people in enclosed spaces, such as in buildings or vehicles, it directly affects thermal comfort. There is also an indirect effect as surrounding surfaces are heated exposing a person to re-radiation. This laboratory study investigated the effects of long wave re-radiation on thermal comfort, individually and when combined with direct solar radiation. Nine male participants (26.0 ± 4.7 years) took part in three experimental sessions where they were exposed to radiation from a hot black panel heated to 100°C; direct simulated solar radiation of 600 Wm and the combined simulated solar radiation and black panel radiation. Exposures were for 30 min, during which subjective responses and mean skin temperatures were recorded. The results showed that, at a surface temperature of 100°C (close to maximum in practice), radiation from the flat black panel provided thermal discomfort but that this was relatively small when compared with the effects of direct solar radiation. It was concluded that re-radiation, from a dashboard in a vehicle, for example, will not have a major direct influence on thermal comfort and that existing models of thermal comfort do not require a specific modification. These results showed that, for the conditions investigated, the addition of re-radiation from internal components has an effect on thermal sensation when combined with direct solar radiation. However, it is not considered that it will be a major factor in a real world situation. This is because, in practice, dashboards are unlikely to maintain very high surface temperatures in vehicles without an unacceptably high air temperature. This study quantifies the contribution of short- and long-wave radiation to thermal comfort. The results will aid vehicle designers to have a better understanding of the complex radiation environment. These include direct radiation from the sun as well as re-radiation from the dashboard and other internal surfaces.


This work was conducted as part of Brite Euram funded project BRPR-CT97–0450. The authors would like to acknowledge the support and help provided by Fiat, Pilkington, Renault, Rover, Splintex, Saint Gobain and the University of Warwick



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476 - 491


HODDER, S. and PARSONS, K., 2008. The effects of solar radiation and black body re-radiation on thermal comfort. Ergonomics, 2008, 51 (4), pp. 476 - 491


© Taylor & Francis


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