The place for any religious and/or philosophical discussions, treatise, absolutions, ramblings, etc...
if our body temperature is 98.6 then why is 72 degrees comfortable?
Cold blooded creatures temperatures are the same as the outside air...if I remember correctly...so if it's 20 degrees out then their temperature is 20 degrees...which is why most cool blooded creatures live underground or in caves or holes where the temperature rarely goes below freezing...and will huddle together.
You would think that if our body temperature is 98.6 then that would be our comfortable temperature and anything above it would be warm or hot, and anything below would be cool or cold.
So....why is 72 degrees comfortable for a warm blooded creature with an internal temperature of 98.6?
I read through about half of it and skimmed through the rest...but it doesn't say why 72 degrees is optimal temperature for someone whose body temperature is 98.6
Only amateurs attack machines; professionals target people. Bruce Schneier
Very cool link
But still doesn't answer the question...all the top 10 results just say basically the same thing...but none say why optimum room temperature is more than 25 degrees lower than our body temperature.
I'm looking specifically for the relation between body temperature and room temperature.
Just something that cropped up in my head
Well try this.. if room temp equals body temp.. How is body going to regulate the temp with ease.?
The body feels comfortable at temperatures where it is able to exchange it's excess heat into the air.. above that the person feels hot..
so the comfort temperature will depend on the persons metbolism and current exertion..
/edit: and the current conduction rate for that heat to escape into the air.. (air is not all that good at conducting heat)
or some thing to that effect .. it is mostly bull shit.. but that looked the most plausable..
hear is another question: why does 25deg C seem hotter in winter than it does in summer? or more to the point we have an AC that dehumidifies the air.. so why is it hotter at 25deg C on heat than it is at 27deg on Cool? what physics is involved here? is it to do with excited atoms or user insanity? or both?
.. The trouble with life is there's no background music..
Remember Grasshopper: The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.
Psychrometrics can explain the operation of the AC/Heater and what other variables would be different with the air - humidity. It can also account for altitude effects, but the data isn't as easy to visualize for this.
But just because the "air" is an average of say 72 F, doesn't mean the air right next to your body is that temperature. Ever felt a cool breeze? The air isn't necessarily colder than the air you're walking in...it pretty much comes down to 72 F being somewhat comfortable given some range of humidity and wind - such as inside a home/building where we're most concerned with this sort of thing.
There are books on air conditioning design (see ASHRAE) and basically after some research we find people are overall happier (and in many cases safer) given certain temperature/ventilation/recirculation/drafts/humidity/noise/throw/sunlight/pressure/etc, and there came to be a nice set of tables detailing this type of information. They don't all 100% agree...but you can design with them. I have a huge book on this type of stuff since I took it as an elective course - but we were more concerned about how to get into the comfortable ranges with available processes and expected conditions and doing so in the most efficient way possible while keeping costs reasonable.
I don't have my book here but I'd imagine it would cite some studies that could explain more, though on a more narrowly focused (and possibly different) topic. Goodluck.
I understand how our body adapts to changes in weather, more particularly seasonal changes...eg. 60 degrees in spring feels warm, but feels cool in the fall...
because our body has adjusted to the weather over the season...
And to some degree I understand that if it's 60 degrees outside, it may feel like 50 degrees in the wind ( windchill factor )...but it's still just 60 degrees even in the wind...
but neither answers the question...
I also understand how our heart and liver, etc produces heat to arrive at the temperature of 98.6 degrees...
but none of this answers the question.
if our body temperature is 98.6 degrees then why is 72 degrees comfortable...you would think that if we are 98.6 degrees then 98.6 degrees would be comfortable...anything above 98.6 would be warm or hot, and anything below 98.6 would be cool or cold...
to use an analogy ( albeit a bad analogy ) if the body temperature of an ice cube is 0 degrees, it is comfortable at 0 degrees...it begins to melt at higher temperatures and begins to condense at lower temperatures...
it would be uncomfortable at any temperature other than 0 degrees.
I know...stupid question ...but someone had to ask
Ok Eggy, you asked for it. To the original question -
The "average" human body is 98.6 degrees F, true. It's also a massive heat engine, throwing it's waste heat into the air through any means possible. 72 degrees F has been found to be most comfortable because at that temperature, the body is able to release its heat into the air without sweating. Any hotter, the pores begin to expand and sweating starts. Any cooler begins the shift in the opposite direction; circulation slows down to the body's extremities, and we feel cold.
Now I put average in quotes at the beginning of this post because no two humans are exactly the same, ergo there is no true average - what there is, is a best guess. As an oddball of sorts, I keep my home air conditioner at 76 degrees F and am quite comfortable as long as I have my ceiling fans stirring the air in my house. At work, however, I tend to stress a bit more, so I crank the air conditioning down to 68 degrees and feel comfortable. Other factors included into this little study (and inclusive into answering other questions mentioned in the above posts as well) are humidity, atmospheric pressure, and atmospheric density (yep, your height above sea level determines your comfort every bit as much as what temperature it is outside - even high and low pressure systems, or cold and warm fronts affect you), not to mention body weight, and what kind of clothing you're wearing on a particular day.
It's a long proven fact that 85 degrees in 100% humidity will guarantee you to sweat through your clothes, and is excruciatingly uncomfortable - if you don't believe me, come visit me next spring and I'll let you mow my lawn. You'll be a believer quite quickly into that evolution.
It's also proven that at zero percent humidity, 110 degrees will make you sweat, but your body feels cooler since its sweating mechanics are functioning as intended - that being your sweat is evaporating from your body as quickly as it is produced, taking excess heat with it. This blurb and the one above it are why weatherdudes now give 'heat indexes' as well as actual temperatures and relative humidities in their reports. Frankly I think heat indexes are a way of dumbing down the weather to suit the unthinking idiots out there who can't figure out it's bloody freaking hot outside and humidity makes it feel worse.
What it all boils down to though, is heat, and how to get rid of it. By the way we learned all of this thanks to NASA - in space there's no way for excess body heat to dissipate from the inside of an air-tight spaceship, so they had to figure out how solve that. I've always been curious how they did solve it, since what we consider as air conditioning just won't work up there either (outdoor heat exchanger anyone? not in space you don't.) Incidentally, it *could very well be* that the reason we all consider 72 degrees as optimum is because NASA said it was and sets their spaceships at that temperature. Don't quote me on that though, it's an unresearched yet educated guess.
I'm sure somewhere in all that stuff I just wrote there's some kind of equation which can prove using boolean algebra that 25 degrees cooler than average body temperature is optimum, but I'm not geeky enough to describe it in mathematical notation for you - I leave that to the higher order think-tank brains out there and I just adjust my thermostat accordingly to what feels best for me.
Incidentally, in closing this, I figured I'd throw this last little innate fact out there - your health determines your comfort level as well. If you're ill with a fever, even the slightest bit, you will feel too cold or too hot - rarely just right, and always in the extreme. I've seen a person with one degree of fever, considered very mild, sit shivering in a 78 degree room with blankets piled on them, and 5 minutes later throw off all the blankets and go crank down the air conditioner (yep, that was the single lady formerly known as Mrs|ce). I also know this to be true from personal experience (yes, we used to pass illness to each other, as all good married couples should. If this isn't true in your home, you're either single or you're not kissing your wife enough).
So good luck to you in finding that appropriate comfort zone. Me, I think it's a matter of personal preference. Whomever pays the electric bill at my house sets the thermostat, and that's bloody well me so keep your fooking hands off of it buster!
 Every last bit of the above giant wall of text came straight off the top of my head through years of educating myself about things most people consider trivial. Check my facts for yourself please and make your own judgements of them! In authoring this post or preparing to, I clicked on no reference links listed in the above thread - so if I'm repeating something someone else has said in some other web article, it's purely unintentional - and it's quite likely that they learned it from me. Dammit! Where's my royalty check? [/edit]
The one thing a customer service specialist can never teach is 'being nice.'
I'm beginning to wonder if Egg wants to delve into some bio-chemical system mechanics such as the temperatures necessary for our body's critical enzymes or cellular functions to function/operate at the rates necessary for our survival...and how our body controls our feelings/comfort to help keep us there both mentally and physically...I mean, this post is in the cave...
Unfortunately that goes well beyond what I imagine I need to know to keep people comfortable. But I'm sure that at some point in time nobody wanted to figure out relative humidity or altitude effects...and look at where we are today. Egg, might I suggest finding the industries that are currently pushing human comfort?
Such as airlines (or maybe airplane manufacturers)...you'd think they would know (or someone who worked for them at one point did know) what it takes to keep people feeling (relatively) comfortable when they're being thrown about in a huge sardine can with tiny windows for hours on end and hardly enough lavatory space to handle the meals they serve. I'd imagine if your business depended on doing that, you'd have to do a lot of research into people to figure out how your customers from all over the world can feel comfortable enough to keep you profitable while keeping costs down. Just a thought
I appreciate your responses...great effort...but I'm starting to think that it may be just one of those things we accept...like why is a banana yellow instead of blue or orange...answer: because it just is
The only thing I could think of was that the temperature around our bodies has to be cooler than our internal temperature to prevent over-heating...but that doesn't explain the question either...
like i said...stupid question.
Probably a lot more complex than you think Eg.
Like |ce says comfort has a lot to do with humidity. And humidity can be affected by pressure such as altitude. Then you getting into partial pressures, gas laws, osmotic gradients and fluid dynamics.
Not to mention personal preference and exertion. Your internal temp might reside at 37.5C so why do you feel hotter when exercising? Because it changes. You body dumps blood into your extremities and your skin sweats to lose that heat.
You body probably generates more heat that it needs to stay at 37.5C. So you must lose heat and I guess that 22C is a good temperature in average humidities to lose the right amount of heat without a lot of sweating.
"Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
- Denis Diderot (1713-1784)
Yes...but...( there's always a but isn't there ) ....let's say you have a robot whose internal temperature is 67 degrees...assuming that 67 degrees is it's optimal working temperature...it functions best at 67 degrees...hotter or colder affects it's functionality...
I assume the human body functions best around 98.6 degrees ( with slight variants )...98.6 degrees is it's optimal working temperature...hotter or colder affects it's functionality...if our temperature drops or rises even slightly it can affect us in a negative way...
what I don't understand is if 98.6 is the optimal working temperature internally why then would that not translate to the exterior environment...
why we would have an optimal working temperature of 98.6 internally, and a 72 degree optimal working temperature externally...
I understand the science behind ' how ' it works...
basically the question is: ' why ' isn't our external optimal working temperature consistent with our internal optimal working temperature
For instance, just as an observation...lets say we normally start to sweat at 76 degrees...why, if our internal optimal working temperature is 98.6 degrees, we don't start sweating at 99 degrees and be chilled at 93 degrees.
Then, maybe, I'm making no sense
Eg - get this through your skull right now. We've tried to tell you this for years and you refuse to believe it. I'll say it just one more time:
Men are not robots.
There. I said it. I won't repeat it nor elaborate.
The one thing a customer service specialist can never teach is 'being nice.'
"How does a rainbow work?
How does Positraction on a '65 plymouth work?
It just does"
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AND I WANT TO KNOW WHY NOT!
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