Predicting Human Thermal Comfort in Automobiles 2005-01-2008
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed a suite of thermal comfort tools to help develop smaller and more efficient climate control systems in automobiles. The tools consist of a thermal comfort manikin, physiological model, and psychological model that are linked together to assess comfort in a transient non-homogeneous environment. The manikin, which consists of 120 individually controlled zones, mimics the human body by heating, sweating, and breathing. The physiological model is a 40,000-node numerical simulation of the human body. The model receives heat loss data from the manikin and predicts the human physiological response and skin temperatures. Based on human subject test data, the psychological model takes the temperatures of the human and predicts thermal sensation and comfort. The manikin and models have been validated against physiological data that are available in the literature and test subject data that are used to develop the psychological model. This paper presents details on NREL's thermal comfort tools and the validation testing performed.