Prediction of the average skin temperature in warm and hot environments

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2000 May;82(1-2):52-60. doi: 10.1007/s004210050651.


The prediction of the mean skin temperature used for the Required Sweat Rate index was criticised for not being valid in conditions with high radiation and high humidity. Based on a large database provided by 9 institutes, 1999 data points obtained using steady-state conditions, from 1399 experiments and involving 377 male subjects, were used for the development of a new prediction model. The observed mean skin temperatures ranged from 30.7 degrees C to 38.6 degrees C. Experimental conditions included air temperatures (Ta) between 20 and 55 degrees C, mean radiant temperatures (Tr) up to 145 degrees C, partial vapour pressures (Pa) from 0.2 to 5.3 kPa, air velocities (v(a)) between 0.1 and 2 m/s, and metabolic rates (M) from 102 to 620 W. Rectal temperature (T(re)) was included in the models to increase the accuracy of prediction. Separate models were derived for nude (clothing insulation, I(cl), < or = 0.2 clo, where 1 clo = 0.155 m2 x degrees C x W(-1), which is equivalent to the thermal insulation of clothing necessary to maintain a resting subject in comfort in a normally ventilated room, air movement = 10 cm/s, at a temperature of 21 degrees C and a humidity of less than 50%) and clothed (0.6 < or = I(cl) < or = 1.0 clo) subjects using a multiple linear regression technique with re-sampling (non-parametric bootstrap). The following expressions were obtained for nude and clothed subjects, respectively: T(sk) = 7.19 + 0.064Ta + 0.061Tr + 0.198Pa - 0.348v(a) + 0.616T(re) and T(sk) = 12.17 + 0.020Ta + 0.044Tr + 0.194Pa - 0.253v(a) + 0.0029M + 0.513T(re). For the nude and clothed subjects, 83.3% and 81.8%, respectively, of the predicted skin temperatures were within the range of +/- 1 degree C of the observed skin temperatures. It is concluded that the proposed models for the prediction of the mean skin temperature are valid for a wide range of warm and hot ambient conditions in steady-state conditions, including those of high radiation and high humidity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clothing
  • Environment*
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Humidity
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Skin Temperature*