As the transportation industry moves to higher levels of electrification and incorporates more sophisticated cabin climate control systems, tools to develop and validate performance must follow suit. Energy efficiency and occupant thermal comfort have risen to the level of importance previously reserved for cabin temperature.
A recent post by ThermoAnalytics, our Calumet, MI colleagues, “Solving for both Human Comfort and Energy Efficiency”, highlights the benefits that simulation can provide for user-centered cabin comfort design processes. When your design target is thermal comfort, you need design tools that can predict and directly optimize that comfort.
But what is a well-meaning HVAC engineer to do at the prototype phase, or as they seek to optimize control strategy of an as-built vehicle? Human tests are cumbersome, expensive, and subjective. Instrumenting test vehicles can provide a rich data set, but doesn’t align with occupant thermal comfort as a performance requirement. Enter the unassuming and hard-working thermal manikin system. The right instrument can provide a rich data set to quantify system performance, and it can give you that information in the same terms as the simulation results – occupant thermal comfort.
Thermetrics and ThermoAnalytics have been collaborating for over a decade to marry the sophistication and flexibility of the TAITherm Human Thermal Module with the physical presence and repeatability of our thermal manikin systems. The result, ManikinPC, couples thermal (ANDI/Newton/STAN) or passive (HVAC) manikins to the validated human physiology model of TAITherm, creating the most advanced human thermal simulator tools available.
People are the ultimate consumers of the vehicle cabin experience and will always be key to make the final judgement on system performance. But compatible simulation and measurement tools can keep the focus on the simulated person during early design and then prove out that performance in physical tests. All using the same human comfort metrics. Now that sounds comfortable.