Research Papers: Bio-Heat and Mass Transfer

Uncertainty Analysis of the Core Body Temperature Under Thermal and Physical Stress Using a Three-Dimensional Whole Body Model

[+] Author and Article Information
Robins T. Kalathil, Gavin A. D'Souza

Department of Mechanical and
Materials Engineering,
University of Cincinnati,
Cincinnati, OH 45221

Amit Bhattacharya

Department of Environmental Health,
University of Cincinnati,
Cincinnati, OH 45267

Rupak K. Banerjee

Department of Mechanical and
Materials Engineering,
University of Cincinnati,
593 Rhodes Hall,
Cincinnati, OH 45221
e-mail: Rupak.Banerjee@uc.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received April 29, 2016; final manuscript received October 6, 2016; published online November 22, 2016. Editor: Dr. Portonovo S. Ayyaswamy.

J. Heat Transfer 139(3), 031102 (Nov 22, 2016) (10 pages) Paper No: HT-16-1237; doi: 10.1115/1.4034962 History: Received April 29, 2016; Revised October 06, 2016

Heat stress experienced by firefighters is a common consequence of extreme firefighting activity. In order to avoid the adverse health conditions due to uncompensable heat stress, the prediction and monitoring of the thermal response of firefighters is critical. Tissue properties, among other parameters, are known to vary between individuals and influence the prediction of thermal response. Further, measurement of tissue properties of each firefighter is not practical. Therefore, in this study, we developed a whole body computational model to evaluate the effect of variability (uncertainty) in tissue parameters on the thermal response of a firefighter during firefighting. Modifications were made to an existing human whole body computational model, developed in our lab, for conducting transient thermal analysis for a firefighting scenario. In conjunction with nominal (baseline) tissue parameters obtained from literature, and physiologic conditions from a firefighting drill, the Pennes' bioheat and energy balance equations were solved to obtain the core body temperature of a firefighter. Subsequently, the uncertainty in core body temperature due to variability in the tissue parameters (input parameters), metabolic rate, specific heat, density, and thermal conductivity was computed using the sensitivity coefficient method. On comparing the individual effect of tissue parameters on the uncertainty in core body temperature, the metabolic rate had the highest contribution (within ±0.20 °C) followed by specific heat (within ±0.10 °C), density (within ±0.07 °C), and finally thermal conductivity (within ±0.01 °C). A maximum overall uncertainty of ±0.23 °C in the core body temperature was observed due to the combined uncertainty in the tissue parameters. Thus, the model results can be used to effectively predict a realistic range of thermal response of the firefighters during firefighting or similar activities.

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Fig. 1

The heart rate data of a firefighter during the entire firefighting training drill comprising of work (Sc) and rest (R) conditions

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Fig. 2

(a) A schematic of the 3D whole body model and (b) a typical mesh used for the computational simulations

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Fig. 3

Contour plot of the whole body temperature at (a) steady-state and (b) at the end of work scenario 2 (Sc2)

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Fig. 4

(a) Comparison of numerical core body temperature (Tc_N*) with experimental core temperature (Tc_E) and (b) comparison of Tc_E with core body temperature based on scaled-down metabolic rate (Tc_N)

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Fig. 5

Uncertainty in Tc_N due to variability in (a) specific heat, c (b) density, ρ and (c) thermal conductivity, k

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Fig. 6

Uncertainty in Tc_N due variability in metabolic rate, q˙

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Fig. 7

(a) Comparison of uncertainty in Tc_E, determined based on the error in temperature measurement system, with that in Tc_N calculated based on combined uncertainties due to variability in ρ, q̇, c, and k and (b) comparison of Tc_E with the two numerical core temperatures (Tc_N, Tc_N*)

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Fig. 8

Variation of cardiac output and stroke volume during firefighting activity




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