Adapting a human thermoregulation model for predicting the thermal response of older persons
A human thermoregulation model has been adapted for predicting the thermal response of Typical Older Persons. The model known as the Older Persons Model predicts the core body temperature and regulatory responses of the older people in environmental exposures of cold, warm and hot. The model was developed by modifying an existing dynamic human thermoregulation model using anthropometric and thermo-physical properties of older people. The Model defines the body as two interrelating systems of the body structure (passive system) and the control system of the central nervous system (active system). The Older person’s passive system of the model was developed by meticulously extracting relevant experimental data from selected published research works relating to anthropometric and thermo-physical properties of older people. The resultant body structure (passive system) is a multi-segmented representation of a Typical Older Person. The active system (central nervous system) was developed by the application of a novel optimization method based on the working principles of Genetic Algorithms. The use of Genetic Algorithm enables the complex characteristics of the central nervous system of the older persons to be well represented and evaluated based on available data. Active system control signal coefficients for sweating, shivering, vasodilation and vasoconstriction were explicitly derived based on experimental data sourced from literature. The Older Persons Model has been validated using independent experimental data and its results show good agreement with measured data. Furthermore, the Older Persons Model has been applied to several test cases extracted from published literature and its results show good agreement with published findings on the thermal behaviour of older persons. An interview study conducted as part of this research revealed that, professionals (built environment specialists) found the Older Persons Model useful in assisting to further understand the thermal response of the older persons. In conclusion, the adaptation of an existing human thermoregulation model has resulted in a new model, which allows improved prediction of heat and cold strain of the older person although there exist limitations.
- PhD