An Evaluation of the Wind Chill Factor: Its Development and Applicability

[+] Author and Article Information
M. Bluestein

Department of Manufacturing Technology, Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis,799 West Michigan Street, Room 301G, Indianapolis, IN 46202

J Biomech Eng 120(2), 255-258 (Apr 01, 1998) (4 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2798309 History: Received August 10, 1995; Revised December 03, 1997; Online October 30, 2007


The wind chill factor has become a standard meteorologic term in cold climates. Meteorologic charts provide wind chill temperatures meant to represent the hypothetical air temperature that would, under conditions of no wind, effect the same heat loss from unclothed human skin as does the actual combination of air temperature and wind velocity. As this wind chill factor has social and economic significance, an investigation was conducted on the development of this factor and its applicability based on modern heat transfer principles. The currently used wind chill factor was found to be based on a primitive study conducted by the U.S. Antarctic Service over 50 years ago. The resultant equation for the wind chill temperature assumes an unrealistic constant skin temperature and utilizes heat transfer coefficients that differ markedly from those obtained from equations of modern convective heat transfer methods. The combined effect of these two factors is to overestimate the effect of a given wind velocity and to predict a wind chill temperature that is too low.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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