The influence of heated or cooled seats on the acceptable ambient temperature range

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In 11 climate chamber experiments at air temperatures ranging from 15 to 45 degrees C, a total of 24 subjects, dressed in appropriate clothing for entering a vehicle at these temperatures, were each exposed to four different seat temperatures, ranging from cool to warm. In one simulated summer series, subjects were preconditioned to be too hot, while in other series they were preconditioned to be thermally neutral. They reported their thermal sensations, overall thermal acceptability and comfort on visual analogue scales at regular intervals. Instantaneous heat flow to the seat was measured continuously. At each ambient room temperature, the percentage dissatisfied was found to be a second-order polynomial function of local heat flow. Zero heat flow was preferred at an air temperature of 22 degrees C and the heat flow that minimized the percentage dissatisfied was found to be a single linear function of air temperature in all conditions. The analysis indicates that providing optimal seat temperature would extend the conventional 80% acceptable range of air temperature for drivers and passengers in vehicle cabins by 9.3 degrees C downwards and by 6.4 degrees C upwards.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)586-600
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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