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Physiological Strain and Physical Burden in Chemical Protective Coveralls Open Access


Other title
Physiological Strain
Physical Burden
Chemical Protective Clothing
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Wen, ShuQin
Supervisor and department
Jane Batcheller, Department of Human Ecology
Examining committee member and department
Nancy Kerr, Department of Human Ecology
Stewart Petersen, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation
Huantian Cao, Department of Fashion, University of Delaware
Rachel McQueen, Department of Human Ecology
Department of Human Ecology
Human Ecology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This research draws together textile fabric and garment testing used in the prediction of human comfort in chemical protective clothing (CPC) with human wear trials. Four interrelated studies were performed to characterize and predict the thermo-physiological strain and physical burden in selected ISO Type 3, 4 and 5 chemical protective coveralls. In the first study, comfort in the CPC was evaluated through bench-scale sweating hotplate and Kawabata testing. Thermal and physical comfort was predicted using total heat loss values and multi-axis radar graphs that summarized the characterized mechanical properties from the Kawabata tests. The second study utilized three-dimensional body scanning and thermal sweating manikin testing to further assess the clothing ergonomics and thermal discomfort of the selected coveralls at the garment level. The full-scale thermal and evaporative resistances obtained from the sweating manikin tests correlated with the fabric results from the sweating hotplate. In the third study, significantly different physiological responses (i.e., oxygen consumption, heart rate, core and skin temperature and minute ventilation) and subjective comfort perceptions (i.e., rating of perceived exertion, hotness and wetness in clothing and restriction to movement) were determined in three selected coveralls through the controlled wear trials. In the fourth study, eight statistical regression models were developed through correlation and multiple regression analyses between the human responses and the results from the fabric and garment tests. These models showed that CPC increased physical burden by adding weight and/or by restricting movement. Oxygen consumption was predicted with clothing weight and fabric bending hysteresis. Fabric evaporative resistance and thickness were the two most significant predictors for the thermo-physiological responses, including change in body temperatures, change in heart rate and the physiological strain index. Fabric evaporative resistance and thickness were also the most significant predictors for average hotness, wetness and exertion perceptions during the test. The results of this research provide a better understanding of the influence of CPC on human thermo-physiological and physical comfort. The models developed enable textile researchers to predict the CPC effects on worker’s performance and comfort and will contribute to the development of more comfortable chemical protective garments.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Wen, S., Song, G., & Ducan, S. (2012). Analysis of physical and thermal comfort properties of chemical protective clothing. In A. M. Shepherd (Ed.), Performance of Protective Clothing and Equipment: Emerging Issues and Technologies STP 1544 (pp. 48-73). West Conshohocken, PA: ASTM International.

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