Ergonomics of thermal effects

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The thermal effects related to wearing a bicycle helmet are complex and different studies have
investigated single parts of this topic. A literature review was produced and published (Bogerd et
al., 2015) summarizing the different findings to give a complete overview on this topic as well as to
suggest new perspectives. Headgear increases head insulation and therefore is mainly problematic
under warm conditions, which is the focus of that review. Helmets do not affect physiological
parameters other than the local skin temperature and sweat rate. However, the head is among the
most sensitive body parts related to thermal comfort, thereby directly affecting the willingness
to wear headgear. Several methods have been used to study thermal aspects of headgear, which
could be categorized as (i) numerical, (ii) biophysical, (iii) combined numerical and biophysical,
and (iv) user trials. The application of these methods established that heat transfer mainly takes
place through radiation and convection. Headgear parameters relevant to these heat transfer
pathways are reviewed and suggestions are provided for improving existing headgear concepts
and developing new concepts, ultimately leading to more accepted headgear.

The report of working group 4 (WG4) provides information about activities undertaken during
the COST Action TU1101 “Towards safer bicycling through optimization of bicycle helmets and
usage” to better understand the ergonomics of thermal aspects and to work towards the tasks
defined in the memorandum of understanding (COST Secretariat, 2011)

Primary Task 5: Development of guidelines for thermally-optimized helmet designs

Secondary Task 3: Inform impact studies on which kinds of ventilation structures are useful and
which are unnecessary

Secondary Task 7: Review of physiological and comfort effect of wearing bicycle helmets

All the chapters listed below include important aspects contributing to the primary task 5.
Modelling and simulation tools (Chapter II) are becoming more and more important in research
and development of new bicycle helmets but also in the development of guidelines, directives and
norms. An example for the industrial application of models is given in Chapter III. The investigation
of different forms of helmet coverings provides important information about the future direction
for the development of helmet designs. Completely new helmet designs and the respective
thermal properties are presented in Chapter IV. This chapter shows a different approach for finding
new concepts of helmet designs. In Chapter V, new project initiatives are introduced to improve
thermal aspects of helmets but also to include information and communication techniques (ICT)
into helmets. Finally, the tasks of WG4 are summarized in Chapter VI, conclusions are drawn and an
outlook is provided regarding the future development of helmets to comply with the requests of
two-wheel commuters (including e-bikes, segway and others).