Thermal Environment Laboratory


    Infrastructure Details


    Climate Lab

    Name of national/international infrastructure this infrastructure belongs to

    Thermal Environment Laboratory with the research group studying the effects of thermal climate and clothing effects on human performance, thermal comfort and health is a part of the division of Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology at the Department of Design Sciences.


    The laboratory is used for thermal testing of clothing and equipment and for physiological studies. Testing includes studies on human subjects as well as on thermal manikins. Several instruments are fit for use for the field surveys. The lab is used in education for laboratory exercises on exposure to cold, heat and physical work capacity. Students may use the lab facilities in order to learn how different materials and products perform and behave in cold or hot environments. They can expose themselves to heat and cold, and experience how the body reacts. There are possibilities to do master projects related to our research area.

    Equipment and resources

    • The laboratory has two climatic chambers: a warm chamber (height×width×length: 2400×2360×3200 mm) and a cold chamber (2400×2360×2400 mm). The chambers were constructed and taken into use at the end of 2003. The chambers may be programmed in advance to automatically change the temperatures according to experiment needs. The warm chamber can be adjusted from +5 to +60 °C and temperature standard deviation (SD) from set value is less than ±0.2 °C. The relative humidity in this chamber can be adjusted from 20 to 90 % depending on temperature and humidity SD from set value is less than ±5 %. The cold chamber can be adjusted from –53 to +20 °C and temperature SD from set value is less than ±0.4 °C.
    • The instruments such as Lumasense INNOVA 1221 thermal climate kit, various sensors with loggers (Testo 177-T4 for thermocouples, MSR 145W with options to measure temperature, humidity, pressure and acceleration etc). Stationary skin and body core temperature measuring systems comprise NTC-resistance temperature matched thermistors and YSI probes connected to NI components run by Labview.
    • For air velocity and flow measurements instruments from Swema are used.
    • Special instrument to measure respiratory flow rates (Swema).
    • Activity levels at the lab can be generated by various equipment. Most common are bench for steptest, ergometer bicycle, treadmill and stepmachine. Physical load can objectively measured by recording oxygen consumption with Metamax equipment (I-III).
    • Several other environment instruments, e.g. WBGT-meter etc., and computer based tools, e.g. evaluation models, available at the laboratory.
    • Thermal environment evaluation kit
    • IR-camera Flir T200
    • Walkway with built-in force plate and adjustable inclination (0-30 degrees).
    • Thermal manikins and models for clothing insulation and evaporative resistance measurements and thermal environment evaluation: 2 whole body manikins, a hand, a foot, a head models and a premature baby manikin.

    Digital and physical collections

    Thermal exposure assessment and evaluation tools on internet based on international standards (ISO 11079 - cold, ISO 7933 - heat, ISO 7730 - indoor environments) are available for use at There are available other digital aids and models for thermal environment exposure evaluation and human physical performance estimation.

    Services provided

    Apart from research, the competence, expertise and measuring facilities can be used for measurement and evaluation of problems related to thermal factors:

    ● testing of personal protective equipment, in particular clothing;
    ● education and lectures;
    ● guidance and consulting work.

    The activities of the Thermal Environment Laboratory comprise research about effects of the thermal environment on humans, as well as development of methods for assessment and design of such environments for safe and optimal function for human occupancy. Research is also undertaken on personal protective equipment. Work includes experiments on human subjects as well as fundamental studies of thermodynamic processes. A general description of research topics is given below:

    ● effects of thermal environments on human health, function, performance and comfort;
    ● identification and description of thermal risk factors in various environments;
    ● development of models for risk assessment related to thermal stress and strain;
    ● strategies for prevention and elimination of risk factors and risk environments;
    ● thermodynamic processes related to human heat exchange;
    ● ergonomic aspects on design and use of personal protective equipment;
    ● development of methods for measurement and evaluation of thermal environments and thermodynamic processes.

    Management of the infrastructure

    Laboratory Director: Operative responsibility for the activities, safety and work environments: Chuansi Gao, assoc. professor, +46 46 222 32 06

    Economic responsibility: Head of Divisions at EAT (Anders Gudmundsson)

    Communication: Jessika Sellergren

    UKÄ subject classification

    • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
    • Engineering and Technology
    • Physiology
    • Environmental Health and Occupational Health

    Type of infrastructure

    • Equipment
    • Services
    • Digital collections

    Free keywords

    • Thermal environment
    • climate change and health
    • thermal stress
    • thermal comfort
    • heat stress
    • cold stress
    • climatic chamber
    • extreme weather
    • heat wave
    • cold spell
    • thermal manikin
    • thermal physiology
    • heat balance
    • thermoregulation
    • heat and health
    • hyperthermia
    • hypothermia
    • heat and cold related illnesses
    • cold injury
    • personal protective equipment
    • protective clothing
    • thermal ergonomics