Meta-analysis of the effects of microclimate cooling systems on human performance under thermal stressful environments: Potential applications to occupational workers

Ping Chuen Chan, Wenfang Song, Yang Yang

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to determine the appropriate microclimate cooling systems (MCSs) to reduce heat stress and improve human performance of occupational workers and their practicality in the occupational field. Meta-analysis was employed to summarize, analyze, and compare the effects of various MCSs on human performance with corresponding physiological and psychological responses, thereby providing solid suggestions for selecting suitable MCSs for occupational workers. Wearing MCSs significantly attenuated the increases in core temperature (-0.34. °C/h) and sweating rate (-0.30. L/h), and significantly improved human performance (+29.9%, effect size [EFS]=1.1) compared with no cooling condition (CON). Cold air-cooled garments (ACG-Cs; +106.2%, EFS=2.32) exhibited greater effects on improving human performance among various microclimate cooling garments (MCGs), followed by liquid cooling garments (LCGs; +68.1%, EFS=1.86) and hybrid cooling garment combining air and liquid cooling (HBCG-AL; +59.1%, EFS=3.38), natural air-cooled garments (ACG-Ns; +39.9%, EFS=1.12), and phase change material cooling garments (PCMCGs; +19.5%, EFS=1.2). Performance improvement was observed to be positively and linearly correlated to the differences of core temperature increase rate (. r=0.65, p<0.01) and sweating rate (. r=0.80, p<0.001) between MCSs and CON. Considering their application in industrial settings, ACG-Cs, LCGs, and HBCG-AL are practical for work, in which workers do not move frequently, whereas ACG-Ns and PCMCGs are more applicable for the majority of occupational workers. Further enhancement of the cooling efficiency of these two cooling strategies should be initiated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-32
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Thermal Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015


  • Meta-analysis
  • Microclimate cooling system
  • Occupational worker
  • Performance
  • Thermal stressful environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Developmental Biology

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