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Human whole body heat transfer

Whole body thermal modeling is a computational analysis technique to determine the temperature changes occurring within the human body under different environmental and physiologic conditions. Differences in the environment can include scenarios of extreme heat stress such as a fire fighting condition inside a building, or being immersed in cold water. Changes in the physiologic conditions can be caused by variable physical loads on the human body, including exercise scenarios, firefighting activities, skydiving (gravity effects), or deep sea diving (water pressure at increased depths of water). Being able to predict the temperature changes enables one to design or modify the appropriate clothing gear, determine the safe duration for each activity, and provide insights on the need and frequency for food or water replenishments.

The human body can be divided into multiple sub-domains such as the head, the muscle, and the internal organs. Each of these sub domains is assigned with their respective metabolism rate that generates body heat and blood perfusion. The blood perfusion assists in distributing the heat within the body. The interactions of these subdomains, their physiological parameters, and the immediate surroundings results in a complex interplay of heat transfer from the human body to the environment or vice versa.

The figure below shows the transient temperature profile of the human body model during cold water immersion at fixed water temperature of 0 °C (A) and during exercise condition (B) at the end of 150 minutes. The core body temperature (Tc), which is the primary outcome of the computational study, is defined as the average temperature of the internal organs. The TEM lab expertizes in research to de-termine the temperature changes in firefighters during firefighting operation.

human whole body model

Figure 1.  Tissue temperature distribution in the human body A) after 150 minutes of water immersion in 0 °C and B) after 150 minutes of exercise at the maximum walking speed of 1.8 m/s 


by Gavin D Souza last modified 2015-04-23 17:00