Determination of clothing microclimate volume

Hein Daanen*, Kent Hatcher, George Havenith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The average air layer thickness between human skin and clothing is an important factor in heat transfer. The trapped volume between skin and clothing is an estimator for everage air layer thickness. Several techniques are available to determine trapped volume. This study investigates the reliability and reproducibility of three conditions: semi-nude (only wearing bicycle shorts), wearing a T-shirt and wearing a coverall. The first method to determine microclimate volume was whole-body scanning. The subjects were scanned in each condition using a whole-body scanner. The volume under the T-shirt or coverall was determined by subtracting the volume of the semi-nude body from the volume of the scan with T-shirt or coverall. The second method used a thin airtight suit over the garments. Air was pumped out until the suit was crushed tight against the body. The removed air volume from the moment the suit touched the garments until it was tight against the body was measured. The third method estimated the microclimate volume by measuring circumferences of the nude and clothed body, modelling the human body in cylinders. The difference in cylinder volumes between clothed and nude was taken as the microclimate volume. The microclimate volume of the T-shirt was 12±2, 13±4 and 4±1 dm3 for the scanning method, suit method and model, respectively. The microclimate volume of the coverall was 33±5, 27±5 and 28±8 dm3. The standard deviation mainly reflects differences between subjects. The difference within subjects (three repetitions) was about 1% for the scanning method, 8% for the suit and 54% for the model. The large error in the model is due to the difficulty in determining the difference in circumference between covered and non-covered skin on individual measurements. When averages of three measurements were used, the error was reduced to 3%. It can be concluded that the microclimate volume determined by the 3D scanning method was most reproducible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-365
Number of pages5
JournalElsevier Ergonomics Book Series
Issue numberC
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • 3D scanning
  • Heat transfer
  • Microclimate volume


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