Evaluating the performance of thermal sensation prediction with a biophysical model

M. Schweiker*, B. R. M. Kingma, A. Wagner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Neutral thermal sensation is expected for a human body in heat balance in near-steady-state thermal environments. The physiological thermoneutral zone (TNZ) is defined as the range of operative temperatures where the body can maintain such heat balance by actively adjusting body tissue insulation, but without regulatory increases in metabolic rate or sweating. These basic principles led to the hypothesis that thermal sensation relates to the operative temperature distance from the thermoneutral centroid (dTNZ(op)). This hypothesis was confirmed by data from respiratory climate chamber experiments. This paper explores the potential of such biophysical model for the prediction of thermal sensation under increased contextual variance. Data (798 votes, 47 participants) from a controlled office environment were used to analyze the predictive performance of the dTNZ(op) model. The results showed a similar relationship between dTNZ(op) and thermal sensation between the dataset used here and the previously used dataset. The predictive performance had the same magnitude as that of the PMV model; however, potential benefits of using a biophysical model are discussed. In conclusion, these findings confirm the potential of the biophysical model with regard to the understanding and prediction of human thermal sensation. Further work remains to make benefit of its full potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1012-1021
Number of pages10
JournalIndoor Air
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017


  • biophysical model
  • indoor temperature
  • performance evaluation
  • prediction
  • thermal comfort
  • thermal sensation
  • AIR

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