Transient sweat response of the human head during cycling

M3-BIORES, KULeuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 30, 3001 Leuven, Belgium; Biomechanics and Engineering Design, KULeuven, Celestijnenlaan 300C, 3001 Leuven, Belgium; Experimental Neurosurgery and Neuroanatomy Section, KULeuven, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven, Belgium; Metallurgy and Materials Engineering, KULeuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 44, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics (Impact Factor: 1.21). 07/2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.ergon.2010.02.005

ABSTRACT This research aims at quantifying transient spatial gradients in sweat production on a human head while cycling.Six test persons were studied. Each test lasted 30 min while a change in work rate was applied after 5 min (from 80 to 150 W for males and from 50 to 125 W for females). Two conditions were analyzed in this research: warm (28.3 ± 0.1 °C, 38 ± 0.6% RH and 0.1 ± 0.1 m/s air velocity) and standard (16.1° ± 0.2 C, 45% ± 0.6 RH and 2.4 ± 0.2 m/s air velocity). Sweat production of the head was measured as a function of time on the right temple, left temple and forehead. This allowed modelling the dynamics of the sweat production response. Constant steady state sweat production, time delay in sweat production, time constant of sweat production and steady state gain of sweat production were quantified and analyzed.Time constants of sweat production were shorter in the warm condition compared to the standard condition. Mean and SEM time constant of sweat production varied from 561 ± 144 s (frontal region) to 1117 ± 230 s (left temple) and 1080 ± 232 s (right temple) in the warm condition. While, at the standard condition, the time constant of sweat production varied from 873 ± 121 s at the frontal region to 1431 ± 195 s at the left temple and 1727 ± 196 s at the right temple. Additionally, also constant steady state sweat production was 0.4–0.7 mg min−1 cm−2 higher in the warm compared to the standard condition (P < 0.05). However, no differences (P > 0.05) were observed for steady state gain and time delay of sweat production between the standard and warm condition.The results of this research can be used to enhance physiological insight of the sweating process and it can also help to develop sweating thermal manikins that behave more realistically to thermal changes. Knowledge of sweat production might also be valuable when designing active controlled headgear since the reaction time of the actuator should take the dynamics of sweat rate into account as a function of work rate and thermal environmental conditions.Relevance to industryUnderstanding of the dynamic behaviour of sweat production in relation to work rate under different environmental conditions allows the design of model based controllers in headgear that actively minimize sweat production. This could help a user's desire to wear a helmet as well as his ability to concentrate.

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