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Heat removal using microclimate foot cooling: a thermal foot manikin study.

Aviation, space, and environmental medicine (2014-04-24)
John W Castellani, Robert Demes, Thomas L Endrusick, Samuel N Cheuvront, Scott J Montain
ABSTRACT

It has been proposed that microclimate cooling systems exploit the peripheral extremities because of more efficient heat transfer. The purpose of this study was to quantify, using a patented microclimate cooling technique, the heat transfer from the plantar surface of the foot for comparison to other commonly cooled body regions. A military boot was fitted with an insole embedded with a coiled, 1.27 m length of hollow tubing terminating in inlet and outlet valves. A thermal foot manikin with a surface temperature of 34 degrees C was placed in the boot and the valves were connected to a system that circulated water through the insole at a temperature of 20 degrees C and flow rate of 120 ml x min(-1). The manikin foot served as a constant heat source to determine heat transfer provided by the insole. Testing was done with the foot model dry and sweating at a rate of 500 ml x h(- 1) x m(-2). Climatic chamber conditions were 30 degrees C with 30% RH. Heat loss was approximately 4.1 +/- 0.1 and approximately 7.7 +/- 0.3 W from the dry and sweating foot models, respectively. On a relative scale, the heat loss was 3.0 W and 5.5 W per 1% (unit) body surface area, respectively, for the dry and sweating conditions. The relative heat loss afforded by plantar foot cooling was similar compared to other body regions, but the absolute amount of heat removal is unlikely to make an impact on whole body heat balance.

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