A simple theoretical model of heat and moisture transport in multi-layer garments in cool ambient air
journal contributionposted on 04.05.2012, 11:12 by Eugene H. Wissler, George HavenithGeorge Havenith
Overall resistances for heat and vapor transport in a multilayer garment depend on the properties of individual layers and the thickness of any air space between layers. Under uncomplicated, steady-state conditions, thermal and mass fluxes are uniform within the garment, and the rate of transport is simply computed as the overall temperature or water concentration difference divided by the appropriate resistance. However, that simple computation is not valid under cool ambient conditions when the vapor permeability of the garment is low, and condensation occurs within the garment. Several recent studies have measured heat and vapor transport when condensation occurs within the garment (Richards et al. in Report on Project ThermProject, Contract No. G6RD-CT-2002-00846, 2002; Havenith et al. in J Appl Physiol 104:142-149, 2008). In addition to measuring cooling rates for ensembles when the skin was either wet or dry, both studies employed a flat-plate apparatus to measure resistances of individual layers. Those data provide information required to define the properties of an ensemble in terms of its individual layers. We have extended the work of previous investigators by developing a rather simple technique for analyzing heat and water vapor transport when condensation occurs within a garment. Computed results agree well with experimental results reported by Richards et al. (Report on Project ThermProject, Contract No. G6RD-CT-2002-00846, 2002) and Havenith et al. (J Appl Physiol 104:142-149, 2008). We discuss application of the method to human subjects for whom the rate of sweat secretion, instead of the partial pressure of water on the skin, is specified. Analysis of a more complicated five-layer system studied by Yoo and Kim (Text Res J 78:189-197, 2008) required an iterative computation based on principles defined in this paper.