Functional Apparel Design for the human Torso

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Over the years, much research has been done examining thermo-mechanical properties of the human under various environmental conditions. It has been shown in previous studies that humans do not emit heat or moisture uniformly, and many factors such as the ambient environment and a person’s somatotype play significant factors in an individual’s thermal flux. However, functional apparel is typically designed as if an individual’s heat and moisture as uniform. Today, many innovative fabrics and finishes exist in the commercial market, but the same material or finish is typically used throughout the entire garment without consideration towards optimizing heat and moisture transfer based on an individual’s thermal or moisture patterns. This paper discusses procedures and results of ongoing research done to date at Central Michigan University involving over 760 human subjects exploring thermal profiles of the human torso. In this research, all 760+ subjects were scanned in a 3D body scanner, then four images of their torsos were taken (front, back, left and right) using an infrared camera. Following data collection, the steps used in the 2D/3D mapping process for integrating the thermal images and the 3D body scan onto a single model are: (1) thermal image pre-processing; (2) image registration; and (3) 2D/3D mapping. Challenges involving human subject testing will be presented. Results will show how the thermal profiles of the human torso can be categorized into several different “families” by using thermal contour maps and thermal variability compared. Lastly, the paper discusses the future research objectives to explore the interaction of the apparel with the human torso on human comfort and functional performance, measuring and comparing existing next-to-skin apparel and garment systems with prototypes. Prototypes will be developed using a sweating guarded hotplate and a custom-built 46-zone NEWTON manikin system. The overarching objective for this research agenda is to apply human-centered design concepts to create prototype functional apparel systems which optimize heat and moisture transfer, while minimizing production costs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFunctional Apparel Design for the human Torso
PublisherEighth International Meeting for Manikins and Modeling (8I3M)
StatePublished - Aug 2010


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