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Thermodynamical Analysis of the Human Thermal Comfort

DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.2004.IntThermSciSemin.370
pages 335-340

Matjaz Prek
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Askerceva 6, Ljubljana, Slovenia


Traditional methods of human thermal comfort analysis are based on the first law of thermodynamics. These methods use an energy balance of the human body to determine heat transfer between the body and its environment. In general, energy balance provides no information on the quality of energy crossing the thermal system boundary and no information about internal losses.
By contrast, the second law of thermodynamics introduces the useful concept of exergy. It enables the determination of the exergy consumption within human body dependent on human and environmental factors. The human body exergy consumption varies with the combination of environmental (room) conditions. Introducing the term exergy in the energy research in building sector implies the exergetical analysis of the human's physiological response to environmental conditions. This processes related to the human thermal comfort in connection with the temperature, heat and mass transfer.
It is shown, that the existing methods for comfort assessment could be further expanded, taking into account the subjective heat sensation. With presented model it is possible to investigate effects of ambient conditions on thermal comfort, both based on the same thermodynamic law. The aim of this analysis was to identify the exergetical model that would provide predictions of human responses to the thermal environment based on exergetical analysis. Exergy analysis shows how is the human exergy consumption coupled to environmental conditions.

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