A review on ergonomics of headgear: thermal effects

FAME Lab - A review on ergonomics of headgear: Thermal effectsBogerd CP, Aerts JM, Annaheim S, Bröde P, Bruyne G, Flouris AD, Kuklane K, Sotto Mayor T, Rossi RM (2015). A review on ergonomics of headgear: Thermal effects. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics. 45. 1-12. 10.1016/j.ergon.2014.10.004.


The thermal effects related to wearing headgear are complex and different studies have investigated single parts of this topic. This review aims at summarizing the different findings to give a complete overview on this topic as well as to suggest new perspectives.

Headgear increases head insulation and therefore is mainly problematic under warm conditions, which is the focus of this review. Helmets do not affect physiological parameters other than the local skin temperature and sweat rate. However, the head is among the most sensitive body parts related to thermal comfort, thereby directly affecting the willingness to wear headgear. Several methods have been used to study thermal aspects of headgear, which could be categorized as (i) numerical, (ii) biophysical, (iii) combined numerical and biophysical, and (iv)user trials.

The application of these methods established that heat transfer mainly takes place through radiation and convection. Headgear parameters relevant to these heat transfer pathways, are reviewed and suggestions are provided for improving existing headgear concepts and developing new concepts, ultimately leading to more accepted headgear. Relevance to industry: This review provides a sound basis for improving existing headgear concepts. Firstly, a concise overview of headgear research related to thermal effects is given, leading to empirically based improvement suggestions and identification of research fields with a high potential. Finally, relevant research methods are described facilitating evaluation in R&D processes.

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