Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/399

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393
STUFFY ROOMS

confined and ill-ventilated quarters. On the maneuvering platform in the engine-room the wet-bulb temperature reaches a very high degree owing to the slight escape of steam round the turbines. Commander Domvile was kind enough to send me the wet and dry bulb temperatures taken there on a number of days. The wet bulb was found to be never below 80° F., sometimes reached 95° and even 98° F. It is impossible for officers to work at these temperatures without straining the heat-regulating mechanism of the body and diminishing their health and working capacity. If such wet-bulb temperatures are unavoidable, means should be provided, such as fans, which would alleviate the discomfort and fatigue caused thereby. A supply of compressed air fitted with a nozzle might be arranged and used occasionally to douche the body with cool air. I have tried this plan and found it very effectual, and can recommend the compressed-air bath as the substitute for a bracing cold wind.

The suitability of the clothing is of the greatest importance, not only to the comfort but to the efficiency of man as a working machine, e. g., power of soldiers to march. On a still day the body is confined by the clothes as if by a chamber of stagnant air, for the air is enclosed in the meshes of the clothes and the layer in contact with the skin becomes heated to body temperature and saturated with moisture.

The observations of Pembrey show that himself and four soldiers, marching in drill order on a moderately warm day, lost more water and retained more water in their clothes than on another similar day when they worked with no jacket on. The average figures were loss of moisture 1,600, against 1,200 grams, and water retained in clothes 254, against 109 grams. With no jacket the pulse was, on the average, increased 28, against 41 in drill order, and rectal temperature 1°, against 1°.5 F. The taking off of the jacket or throwing open of the jacket and vest very greatly increase the physiological economy of a march. It is absurd that on a hot summer day Boy Scouts should march with a colored scarf knotted round their necks. Nothing should be worn for ornament or smartness which increases the difficulty of keeping down the body temperature. The power to march and the efficiency of an army depend on prevention of heart stagnation and avoidance of fatigue of the heart.

I conclude then, that all the efforts of the heating and ventilating engineer should be directed towards cooling the air in crowded places and cooling the bodies of the people by setting the air in motion by means of fans. In a crowded room the air confined between the bodies and clothes of the people is almost warmed up to body temperature and saturated with moisture so that cooling of the body by radiation, convection and evaporation becomes reduced to a minimum. The strain on the heat-regulating mechanism tells on the heart. The pulse