Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environments








The present paper presents a thermodynamic approach to assess the quality of human-thermal environment interaction and quantify thermal comfort. The approach involves development of entropy generation term by applying second law of thermodynamics to the combined human-environment system. The entropy generation term combines both human thermal physiological responses and thermal environmental variables to provide an objective measure of thermal comfort. The original concepts and definitions form the basis for establishing the mathematical relationship between thermal comfort and entropy generation term. As a result of logic and deterministic approach, an Objective Thermal Comfort Index (OTCI) is defined and established as a function of entropy generation. In order to verify the entropy-based thermal comfort model, human thermal physiological responses due to changes in ambient conditions are simulated using a well established and validated human thermal model developed at the Institute of Environmental Research of Kansas State University (KSU). The finite element based KSU human thermal computer model is being utilized as a "Computational Environmental Chamber" to conduct series of simulations to examine the human thermal responses to different environmental conditions. The output from the simulation, which include human thermal responses and input data consisting of environmental conditions are fed into the thermal comfort model. Continuous monitoring of thermal comfort in comfortable and extreme environmental conditions is demonstrated. The Objective Thermal Comfort values obtained from the entropy-based model are validated against regression based Predicted Mean Vote (PMV) values. Using the corresponding air temperatures and vapor pressures that were used in the computer simulation in the regression equation generates the PMV values. The preliminary results indicate that the OTCI and PMV values correlate well under ideal conditions. However, an experimental study is needed in the future to fully establish the validity of the OTCI formula and the model. One of the practical applications of this index is that could it be integrated in thermal control systems to develop human-centered environmental control systems for potential use in aircraft, mass transit vehicles, intelligent building systems, and space vehicles.


This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license.

Original Publication Citation

Boregowda, S. C., Tiwari, S. N., & Chaturvedi, S. K. (2001). Entropy generation method to quantify thermal comfort. Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environments, 6(1), 40-45.