Clothing Physiology: Effects of Clothing on Human Body

Last Updated on 02/01/2021

Clothing Physiology: Effects of Clothing on Human Body

Noor Ahmed Raaz
Faculty Member, Dept. of Textile Engineering,
Atish Dipankar University of Science & Technology


Clothing Physiology
Clothing physiology is the study of the interaction between human body and its clothing in different environment. The comfort of a person in a given situation depends on these interactions. A person can be subjected to many different environments and his bodily requirements can vary widely. Under normal circumstances, heat is continuously being dispersed from the body through the skin (about 90%) and through respiration (10%). During vigorous activity, the body produces a great deal of excess heat.

Clothing Physiology
Fig: Diagram of Clothing Physiology
  • Sitting still –100 watt
  • Walking – 350 watt
  • Vigorous (forceful) sport -1000 watt

If the generation of excess heat is greater than the transport, then the body reacts by producing an increased flow of liquid perspiration at the surface of the skin. Evaporation of the perspiration has a strong cooling effect. If the transport is greater than the heat generation, then the body begins to chill. In order for the user to be comfortable, clothing must participate in regulating the interchange between the body and its surrounding microclimate through insulation, ventilation, moisture absorption, and moisture transport. By appropriate choice of clothing, even extreme climate conditions can be accommodated.

Wicking process
The process which absorbs moisture or perspiration from the human body and finally transfers it to the normal environment is termed wicking process.

Why woolen garments are used in cooler climate?
The general configuration of wool fiber is helical. This helical configuration works as wall from the passing of cold or warm air. Thus in cooler climate the garments made of wool are used.

Heat Insulation and Exchange
To maintain an equal balance of heat and moisture in the microclimate between skin and clothing, some ventilation is required. Air exchange is regulated mainly by three factors:

1. Firstly it depends on the surface texture, mediated by fiber type, yarn and fabric construction, and finishing.

2. Secondly it depends on the garment construction. Tight fitting garments will restrict ventilation and may lead to discomfort due to a build up heat and moisture. Loose garments can promote ventilation like a chimney.

3. Thirdly influence is motion which can be provided externally by wind or by the transportation (such as bicycle), or internally by the pumping action of body movements such as working or running.

You can also like:

  1. Comfort, Appearance and Durability of Fabrics
  2. Purposes and Importance of Clothing
  3. Clothing for Extreme Cold Conditions – An Overview

Share this Article!

Leave a Comment