Heat strain evaluation of overt and covert body armour in a hot and humid environment

Andrew J. Pyke, Joseph T. Costello, Ian B. Stewart

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The aim of this study was to elucidate the thermophysiological effects of wearing lightweight non-military overt and covert personal body armour (PBA) in a hot and humid environment. Eight healthy males walked on a treadmill for 120 min at 22% of their heart rate reserve in a climate chamber simulating 31 °C (60%RH) wearing either no armour (control), overt or covert PBA in addition to a security guard uniform, in a randomised controlled crossover design. No significant difference between conditions at the end of each trial was observed in core temperature, heart rate or skin temperature (P > 0.05). Covert PBA produced a significantly greater amount of body mass change (−1.81 ± 0.44%) compared to control (−1.07 ± 0.38%, P = 0.009) and overt conditions (−1.27 ± 0.44%, P = 0.025). Although a greater change in body mass was observed after the covert PBA trial; based on the physiological outcome measures recorded, the heat strain encountered while wearing lightweight, non-military overt or covert PBA was negligible compared to no PBA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-15
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Early online date19 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


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