Predicting Human Thermal Comfort in a Transient Nonuniform Thermal Environment

John P. Rugh, R. B. Farrington, D. Bharathan, A. Vlahinos, R. Burke, C. Huizenga, H. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus Citations


The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has developed a suite of thermal comfort tools to assist in the development of smaller and more efficient climate control systems in automobiles. These tools, which include a 126-segment sweating manikin, a finite element physiological model of the human body, and a psychological model based on human testing, are designed to predict human thermal comfort in transient, nonuniform thermal environments, such as automobiles. The manikin measures the heat loss from the human body in the vehicle environment and sends the heat flux from each segment to the physiological model. The physiological model predicts the body's response to the environment, determines 126-segment skin temperatures, sweat rate, and breathing rate, and transmits the data to the manikin. The psychological model uses temperature data from the physiological model to predict the local and global thermal comfort as a function of local skin and core temperatures and their rates of change. Results of initial integration testing show the thermal response of a manikin segment to transient environmental conditions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)721-727
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2004

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-540-34795


  • Automotive
  • Human physiology
  • Numerical modeling
  • Thermal comfort
  • Thermal manikin


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