Online educational resource on achieving indoor environmental quality with radiant based HVAC systems
Not for profit educational resource on indoor environmental quality.
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ndoor Environmental Quality: particulate matter




Human body thermal plume
Credit: Professor Gary Settles (Penn State University)/Science Photo Library - (please allow 120 seconds to load)

Schlieren and shadowgraph photography is an imaging technique that can be used to visualize changes in the density of fluids and gases such as air, caused here by the warmth of the human body. The skin convects heat to the surrounding air, which then rises due to buoyancy, creating the human thermal plume. The technique allows us to see what was once invisible but always present in the sensation and perceptions of discomfort or comfort.  Once again - we don't feel the heat loss from the building, we feel the heat loss from our bodies and this is controlled by such factors as the mean radiant temperature, air temperature, humidity and air velocity. Learn more about thermal comfort indices.

Images courtesy of Dr. Gary Settles

Learn more about:

Heat and heat transfer from your skin.
Fundamentals of Indoor Environmental Quality
Thermal comfort surveys
Dr. Gary Settles and Schlieren Photography

See also:

Human thermal plume
Conduction animation
Radiant animation
Convection animation
Mean radiant temperature


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