Automotive HVAC Manikin Testing System

HVAC manikin photo

April 2010 (updated July 2016) -- Remember a few months ago when I mentioned that Thermetrics engineers love custom projects? Here’s a good example that shows our Newton manikin system re-purposed to serve (quite well I might add) as a sophisticated, repeatable tool for car/truck/transit HVAC comfort research. 

This non-thermal manikin system features our popular 50th percentile Western or Asian male body form along with the addition of high-accuracy surface-mounted sensors to evaluate the environmental comfort conditions of automotive passenger cabins. An integrated matrix of sensors measures air velocity, air temperature, radiant heat flux, and relative humidity.

Wireless communication capability is included, and each manikin separates into upper and lower halves at the waist for easy insertion into a variety of vehicles. Newton is a fully jointed manikin, and this model is built with shoulder joints that allow the manikin's elbows to move in or out from the torso, reflecting a range of typical driver positions.

Mitten-shaped manikin hands in a curved, gripping shape allow for easy positioning of the hands onto the vehicle steering wheel. Their shape does not impact air movement, but permits airflow similar to that of a human grip/fist.

Thigh backs are flattened to simulate seat compression, for more realistic airflow patterns. The ambient sensor matrix includes:

46 - Custom airflow/velocity/temperature sensors, developed by Thermetrics for this specific application. Protective caps are included for use during vehicle installation or storage.

Measurement range:

  • -20°C to +70°C
  • +/- 1.0°C calibrated accuracy
  • +/- 0.1°C resolution
  • Airflow rates: 0.1-5.0 M/sec
  • Temperature compensated from -20°C to +70°C

46 - Thermal radiation sensors, each mounted in a protective recess with the sensor at skin level. Measurement range is from near zero to >3,000 W/m², 1-20 um wavelength.

4 - Relative humidity sensors, 0 to 95% RH, non-condensing.