The Walter Sweating Fabric Manikin is used to assess thermal comfort of garments and to study the dynamic thermal interactions between the human body, garment and environment. Thermal comfort of a garment system can be assessed through subjective wearer testing or objective simulation testing. Subjective wearer testing can directly link results to actual garments used, but is often inconsistent, expensive, and sometimes puts subjects at risk when tested under extreme conditions. Objective simulation tests include flat panel methods (eg Togmeter, KESF Thermolab), cylindrical methods (eg Cylindrical Togmeter) and thermal mannequins. Plate and cylindrical methods can be used to evaluate the thermal properties of clothing materials and simple clothing components, but it is difficult to apply the results to practically used clothing systems. Therefore, thermal mannequins are considered to be the most useful for evaluating the thermal comfort of clothing systems.
Inspired by the human body's thermoregulation system, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University has developed a new jersey manikin called "Walter" - the Walter Sweating Fabric Manikin. The new sweating manikin achieves full body perspiration and very high measurement accuracy (i.e., CV less than 5%) at a fraction of the cost of other sweating manikins developed to date. The two most important parameters - thermal insulation and moisture resistance - can be measured in just one step. "Walter"'s arms and legs can be motorized to simulate walking. Sweat rate can be adjusted by changing skin temperature and fabric skins with different moisture permeability. Since it is mainly composed of water, it has a similar weight and heat capacity as the human body, which is also mainly composed of water.
The invention of “Walter” is based on a completely new concept. “Walter” is the first thermal manikin made of mainly water and high strength breathable fabric. Sweating is simulated by a waterproof, but moisture permeable, fabric 'skin' that holds the water, but allow moisture transmission from the manikin's insides through the millions of tiny pores in the skin. Walter simulates human thermal physiology. The core of Walter's body is controlled at 37oC and the body temperature regulation is achieved by regulating the rate of the pumps which supply warm water from the core region to the extremities. Simultaneous heat loss and evaporative water loss from the manikin are accurately measured, hence The invention of “Walter” is based on a completely new concept. “Walter” is the first thermal manikin made of mainly water and high strength breathable fabric. Sweating is simulated by a waterproof, but moisture permeable, fabric 'skin' that holds the water, but allow moisture transmission from the manikin’s insides through the millions of tiny pores in the skin.
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Keywords: sweating, perspiration, manikin, thermal comfort, clothing, environmental ergonomics.