A Meta-Analysis on the Advancement on the thermodynamic properties of clothing in extreme cold environments

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Nicholas Howie
Samuel Rabey


When two systems with different energies are in contact, the heat from the higher energy system will move into the lower energy system and the two will reach equilibrium. Humans in extreme cold environments will perish if they do not keep appropriate heat contained within their system and thus it is the object of much historic research to maintain heat within a system for as long as possible. Research and development of cold weather clothing focuses on a range of methods regulating heat flow between clothing layers. Modern research focuses on air gaps between layers of clothing, development of new conventional insulating textiles and contemporary solutions such as the use of Phases Change [1]. The purpose of this paper is to conglomerate all of the current research into one meta-analysis highlighting the gaps in the research and potential areas in need of further study, and to propose a new article of cold weather apparel utilizing the most effective advancements from the papers collected in this study. It was found that each component of cold climate clothing affects an aspect of thermal resistivity. Thickness affects the windchill resistance, the specific heat increases thermal resistance of the fabric, while humidity increases thermal conductivity, air gaps reduce it and the rigidity affects all of these factors. Our findings suggest if the air gaps are above 8 mm, natural convection currents can occur which increase the thermal and moisture transfer between clothing layers. By analysing all of these factors, a new prototype garment was able to be proposed.

Keywords: Cold environment; clothing; thermoregulation.


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