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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An Investigation of Thermal Comfort at High Humidities


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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