Comparison of Thermal Manikin Modeling and Human Subjects' Response During Use of Cooling Devices Under Personal Protective Ensembles in the Heat

Tyler Quinn, Jung-Hyun Kim, Yongsuk Seo, Aitor Coca
Prehospital and Disaster Medicine 2018, 33 (3): 279-287

IntroductionPersonal protective equipment (PPE) recommended for use in West Africa during the Ebola outbreak increased risk for heat illness, and countermeasures addressing this issue would be valuable.Hypothesis/ProblemThe purpose of this study was to examine the physiological impact and heat perception of four different personal cooling devices (PCDs) under impermeable PPE during low-intensity exercise in a hot and humid environment using thermal manikin modeling and human testing.

METHODS: Six healthy male subjects walked on a treadmill in a hot/humid environment (32°C/92% relative humidity [RH]) at three metabolic equivalents (METs) for 60 minutes wearing PPE recommended for use in West Africa and one of four different personal cooling devices (PCDs; PCD1, PCD2, PCD3, and PCD4) or no PCD for control (CON). The same ensembles were tested with thermal manikin modeling software in the same conditions to compare the results.

RESULTS: All PCDs seemed to reduce physiological heat stress characteristics when worn under PPE compared to CON. Both the manikin and human testing provided similar results in core temperature (Tc) and heat sensation (HS) in both magnitude and relationship. While the manikin and human data provided similar skin temperature (Tsk) characterization, Tsk estimation by the manikin seemed to be slightly over-estimated. Weight loss, as estimated by the manikin, was under-estimated compared to the human measurement.

CONCLUSION: Personal cooling device use in conjunction with impermeable PPE may be advantageous in mitigating physiological and perceptual burdens of heat stress. Evaluation of PCDs worn under PPE can be done effectively via human or manikin testing; however, Tsk may be over-estimated and weight loss may be under-estimated. Thermal manikin testing of PCDs may provide fast and accurate information to persons recommending or using PCDs with PPE. QuinnT, KimJH, SeoY, CocaA. Comparison of thermal manikin modeling and human subjects' response during use of cooling devices under personal protective ensembles in the heat. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(3):279-287.

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