Numerical and Experimental Study on Personal Protective Equipment Suit Cooling in the COVID-19 Pandemic with Thermoelectric Module

Sahassawas Poojeera1

Apichat Srichat2

Prapada Watcharanat3

Paisarn Naphon4,Email

1Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Rajamangala University of Technology Isan, Khon Kaen Campus, 32000, Thailand.

2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Technology, Udon Thani Rajabhat, University, 41000, Thailand.

3Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Medical Center, Faculty of Medicine, Srinakharinwirot University, Ongkharak, Nakhorn-Nayok, 26120, Thailand.

4Thermo-Fluids and Heat Transfer Enhancement Research Lab. (TFHT), Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Srinakharinwirot University, 63 Rangsit-Nakhornnayok Rd., Ongkharak, Nakhorn-Nayok, 26120, Thailand.

Abstract

The staff must wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to prevent infection while treating and managing severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus-2 that causes COVID-19. The use of PPE is expected to increase in the industrial sector, including a mask/respirator. Wearing PPE and accessories causes discomfort to the staff due to the heat, which results in the body being stressed while working. Reducing stress due to work heat can help extend working time, help make decisions, and help stop the spread of COVID-19. The heat generated by the human skin is in the form of heat energy. The application of a thermoelectric cooling module for cold air circulation and human skin cooling while PPE wearing has been analyzed. Three different cold air-supplied positions have been considered for the PPE suit's cooling capability and air temperature distribution. It is found that the average temperatures of the human skin are 22.5oC, 22.9oC, and 23.8oC, for the TECOB, TECON, and TECOL, respectively. The results and innovation obtained can be used to reduce thermal stress from wearing a PPE suit for prolonged working time and decision improvement.    

Numerical and Experimental Study on Personal Protective Equipment Suit Cooling in the COVID-19 Pandemic with Thermoelectric Module