Effect of Wind Chill on Skin Temperature

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This Demonstration shows the effect of wind speed on skin temperature due to convective heat transfer. The inner surface temperature of a 3-mm-thick layer of skin is constant at 36 °C. The temperature of the skin exposed to air depends on the air temperature and the wind speed; set both with sliders. A temperature profile, which is linear at steady state, is shown for windy and calm conditions. The wind causes one to perceive the temperature as colder than the actual air temperature due to the increased heat transfer. This is referred to as wind chill.

Contributed by: Rachael L. Baumann (October 2016)
(University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



The heat flux for conductive heat transfer through the skin is equal to the convective heat transfer of the moving air:



where is heat flux (), and are the inner and outer surface temperatures (°C), is the thermal conductivity of fatty tissue (), is skin thickness (mm), is the convective heat transfer coefficient of air () and is air temperature (°C).

For a calm day, . For a windy day, the convective heat transfer coefficient is a function of wind speed:


where is wind speed (m/s).


[1] T. L. Bergman, A. S. Lavine, F. P. Incropera and D. P. DeWitt, Introduction to Heat Transfer, 6th ed., Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons, 2011.

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