Physiological and perceptual assessment of thermal comfort and heat strain in garment wear tests using sleeves: an alternative to full-garment tests of chemical protective clothing

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Virginia Tech


This study was conducted to explore the feasibility of using sleeves, along with both physiological and perceptual measurements, to assess the thermal comfort and heat strain in chemical protective clothing wear tests. The effect of body sites, i.e. the arms and the chest, and the effect of a Tyvek® coverall on skin temperature and sweat amount were investigated as well. Ten male subjects were selected from college students. Each subject was assigned to wear a garment of either T-shirt and pants or a changeable left-sleeved Tyvek® coverall with or without an experimental sleeve on the left arm. Three experimental sleeves were of the same style, but made of three different fabrics: Tyvek®, Pro/Shield I®, and Pro/Shield II®. Each subject wore an assigned garment and pedaled on a cycle ergometer in an environmentally-controlled room. Skin temperature, sweat amount, and subjective comfort evaluations were recorded and later analyzed by repeated-measures ANOVA.

Results showed there is a feasibility in using a sleeve with a T-shirt/pants standard garment for assessing thermal comfort in chemical protective garment wear tests. The T-shirt/pants standard garment yielded more consistent and reliable results than did the Tyvek®-coverall standard garment. Under the same conditions, there were no significant differences in skin temperature and sweat amount among the left and right upper arms and the chest. The Tyvek® sleeve in this study impeded the transfer of heat by the greatest amount, followed by the Pro/Shield II® sleeve and the Pro/Shield I® sleeve, respectively.



thermal comfort, heat stress, heat strain, protective clothing, skin temperature, sweat amount