Thermal Modeling of Driver/Seat Interfaces in Automotive Applications

Abstract: A thermophysical model of the dynamic interactions between an automobile driver and a heated seat is presented. The model uses the experimentally measured averaged load distributions to identify the local thermal resistances and to determine variations in temperatures of the seat, the driver’s skin and clothing temperatures as a function of time. The model predicts a sudden temperature change in the seat surface temperature in contact areas. However, temperature differences due to the load distribution are found to be insignificant. The effective heat transfer coefficient in the contacted areas is determined to be about 145 W·K-1·m-2 for the contacted areas.

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