Thermal Comfort Prediction and Validation in a Realistic Vehicle Thermal Environment
The focus of this study is to validate the predictive capability of a recently developed physiology based thermal comfort modeling tool in a realistic thermal environment of a vehicle passenger compartment. Human subject test data for thermal sensation and comfort was obtained in a climatic wind tunnel for a cross-over vehicle in a relatively warm thermal environment including solar load. A CFD/thermal model that simulates the vehicle operating conditions in the tunnel, is used to provide the necessary inputs required by the stand-alone thermal comfort tool. Comparison of the local and the overall thermal sensation and comfort levels between the human subject test and the tool's predictions shows a reasonably good agreement. The next step is to use this modeling technique in designing and developing energy-efficient HVAC systems without compromising thermal comfort of the vehicle occupants.