Bald is Beautiful, but is it Warm?
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The head is a major source of heat loss (60-80%), and therefore, if conditions are cold enough, not keeping the head properly insulated could lead to hypothermia. Because of this, we were interested in determining to what extent hair aided in insulating the head. Are bald people at an extreme disadvantage in winter weather even if they wear a hat? Using Gambit to create a mesh of the head and Fidap to run simulations on that mesh, we were able to model the heat loss through the head for a twelve-minute walk. Because we are concerned with our own well being as well as the well being of our fellow students, we modeled our scenario as if a person were walking from Carpenter Library to Riley Robb Hall in cold temperatures. In our analysis, we focused on the temperature at the surface of the skin to compare all of our results. We found that all individuals wearing a hat (regardless of their hair thickness or lack thereof) are at an equal position in cold weather (skin temperatures varied by only 0.08?C). However, without a hat, the thickness of hair causes the skin temperature to change drastically. Small amounts of hair (up to one cm) have very little effect on the overall temperature of the skin after twelve minutes in cold temperatures, but once hair reaches a thickness of two cm, the head becomes significantly insulated and skin temperatures are much higher.
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bald, baldness; heat heat loss hypothermia
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