Newton Thermal Manikin System - Loughborough University

Research at Loughborough University's Human Environmental Ergonomics Research Centre focuses on the impact of heat and cold on human comfort and performance - particularly in high activity areas such as firefighting, steel foundries, cold storage, and hazardous materials handling. The UK laboratory is headed by Professor George Havenith, and (in 2003) received one of the first "Newton" model thermal manikins made by Thermetrics, a subsidiary of Measurement Technology NW.

"Our lab had a female manikin used for indoor climate evaluation," George explained, "but to further our research we needed a higher resolution manikin with walking capability - and 'Newton' looked like a great choice. We liked the 'Newton' body form and available 34-zone architecture, and knew its high maximum power rating would cut start-up times and provide improved performance for our cold weather tests. The walking feature is what really caught our eye though, because it added a testing dimension we were not capable of before."

At 5' 9", size medium, Newton is constructed of thermally conductive copper filled carbon-epoxy with embedded heating wire elements (max output 800 W/m2) and distributed wire sensors in 20, 26, or 34 microprocessor controlled heating zones. Developed using CAD digital modeling and built in accordance with ASTM and ISO standards, the Newton system meets ENV342, ISO/DIS 15831, prEN13537, ASTM F1291, and ASTM 1720 criteria for garment evaluation and thermal comfort testing at institutes like Loughborough University.

"We are one of the labs involved in the European Thermprotect project," George added. "Thermprotect is a major research initiative that will help define the heat transfer properties of protective clothing when exposed to solar or long wave thermal radiation. The project's scope includes testing clothing variables such as material type, material reflectivity, level of permeability, the effect of fabric wetting on heat transfer, wind and condensation influences, as well as the interaction of all these factors. We have completed over 400 test measurements so far this year, about half with dry and half with wet clothing, and I must say our friend 'Newton' has behaved very well. The manikin's back-to-back zone orientation has been perfect for the frontal radiant heat tests we conducted for the Thermprotect project, and we have great confidence in the data because in earlier comparison tests with eight European manikins, 'Newton' was spot-on with average results when using the calibration garments."

All Thermetrics manikin systems come with ThermDAC software - a complete and intuitive 32-bit Windows based program that provides data logging and analysis, precise thermal control, and real-time displays of manikin zone temperatures. Each thermal zone is individually controlled using either a temperature setpoint, heat flux setpoint, or comfort equation (Madsen) output. ThermDAC's automated data analysis functions include Dry Thermal Resistance, Evaporative Resistance, Vapor Pressure, Permeability Index, Cooling Rate, Area Weighted Averages, and Teq - Equivalent Temperature.

"Our manikin was an early version of the 'Newton' design," said George, "and a few items - such as cable routing and software - needed some follow up work. During this debugging phase MTNW support was prompt, reliable, and very helpful. 'Newton' is fully functional now and I have no hesitation telling other garment testing organizations to get one - it is a sophisticated, well supported technical device."

Thermetrics manufactures a wide range of precision instruments for measuring and evaluating the thermal comfort of textiles, garments, and environments such as aircraft, truck, and automobile interiors. Our systems support all major ASTM, ISO, and ENV textile testing standards.