ThermaNOLE Comfort Lab®

Faculty Contact: Dr. Meredith McQuerry

The ThermaNOLE Comfort Lab®! Home to the only dynamic sweating thermal manikin at a public institution in the world!!

This lab was recently established in 2020 and operates under the direction of Dr. Meredith McQuerry who studies clothing comfort physiology, or how functional apparel impact human performance. The main equipment in this lab is a large environmental chamber that houses ANDI, the only thermal manikin in the world that can sense both heat loss and heat gain through clothing. ANDI sweats, walks, and replicates human physiological responses in real-time including breathing rate, internal body temperature, sweating rate, skin temperature, skin blood flow, and even how comfortable he feels throughout an activity. Whether we want to replicate skiing in Aspen or running a marathon in Arizona, ANDI provides us with the capability to determine how the clothing we wear impacts our ability to perform physical activity.

Dr. McQuerry’s primary focus of research is improving the heat stress and mobility of structural firefighter turnout gear. Recent studies completed over the summer include:

  • an externally funded air gap study to determine heat loss in structural turnout suits based on sizing and fit
  • an externally funded study led by a recent graduate student to determine the thermal comfort of racing suits
  • the evaluation of compression girdles in football applications for improved skin blood flow, also externally funded and led by an undergraduate student
  • an evaluation of athleisurewear leggings for yoga and weightlifting applications, recently published by a graduate student
  • and industry testing of active cooling garments.

In addition to research, the lab welcomes industry partners who are interested in having their products tested utilizing state-of-the-art technology not available to them anywhere else on earth. Dr. McQuerry’s future plans for this space are to expand the fabric level measurement capabilities as she hopes to acquire a sweating guarded hot plate.