Pilot Investigation of a Novel Technique for Measuring Dynamic Body-Garment Contact



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46th International Conference on Environmental Systems


Liquid cooled garments are a fundamental aspect of regulating astronaut’s core body temperature during launch and entry and EVAs. They manage the thermal energy created by the body, to ultimately regulate the body’s core temperature and maintain a comfortable and safe working environment for the astronaut. Liquid cooled garments astronauts wear rely on conduction to transfer body heat. Heat from the body is conducted to a garment that contains cold flowing water. It is crucially important to have contact between the garment and body at all times and in all locations in order for the garment to work most efficiently using conduction. To effectively re-design a liquid cooling garment to promote good contact, it is important to first be able to diagnose where the problem areas exist. Therefore, a method to measure where the garment touches the body or not during movement could provide answers to not only improving the thermal regulation, but also the fit, comfort, and mobility of liquid cooled garments for future space exploration and human spaceflight. Existing methods of measuring the relationship between the body and garment rely on static imaging and are not able to measure contact while the body (and garment) is in motion. Here we present a novel method based on a ‘switch’-like principle, in which contact with the grounded body completes a circuit to close a switch attached to the digital input of a microcontroller. Working principle and early results of this method are discussed.


United States
University of Minnesota
ICES400: Extravehicular Activity: Space Suits
Vienna, Austria
Crystal M. Compton, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, USA
Lucy E. Dunne, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, USA
The 46th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Vienna, Austria, USA on 10 July 2016 through 14 July 2016.


Liquid cooling garment, Liquid cooling and ventilation garment, Extravehicular Mobility Unit, Extravehicular activity, Thermal regulation, Core body temperature, Contact, Fit, Comfort, Mobility