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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An Investigation of Thermal Comfort at High Humidities

  • Author(s): Fountain, M.;
  • Arens, Edward A;
  • Xu, T.;
  • Bauman, Fred;
  • Oguru, M.
  • et al.

Climate chamber experiments were performed to investigate thermal comfort at high humidities. Subjective reports were recorded for a total of 411 subjects at frequent intervals during the three-hour experiments with 65 selected subjects equipped with instrumentation to record skin wettedness and skin temperature. The exposures ranged from 20°C (68°F)/60% RH to 26°C (78.8°F)/90% RH with two clothing levels, 0.5 and 0.9 clo, and three levels of metabolic activity, 1.2, 1.6, and 4 met. Clear differences in humidity response were not found for sedentary subjects; however, non-sedentary activities produced differences on several subjective scales. These differences, though, are dictated via heat balance and thermoregulation and cannot be separated from humidity-related effects. For metabolic rates 1.6 met and above, these data suggest that no practical limit on humidity will lower the percent dissatisfied below 25%.

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