Relative humidity (RH) at the body-seat interface is considered an important factor in both sitting comfort and generation of health concerns such as skin lesions. Technical difficulties appear to have limited research aimed at the detailed and simultaneous exploration of RH and temperature changes at the body-seat interface; using RH sensors without the capability to record temperature where RH is recorded. To explore the causes of a spike in RH consistently produced on first contact between body and seat surface, we report data from the first use of dual temperature and RH (HTU21D) sensors in this interface. Following evaluation of sensor performance, the effect of local thermal changes on RH was investigated. The expected strong negative correlation between temperature and RH (R 2 = =0.94) supported the importance of considering both parameters when studying impact of sitting on skin health. The influence of sensor movement speed (higher velocity approach: 0.32 cm/s ± 0.01 cm/s; lower velocity approach: 0.17 cm/s ± 0.01 cm/s) into a static RH region associated with a higher local temperature were compared with data gathered by altering the rate of a person sitting. In all cases, the faster sitting down (or equivalent) generated larger RH outcomes: e.g., in human sitting 53.7% ± 3.3% RH (left mid-thigh), 56.4% ± 5.1% RH (right mid-thigh) and 53.2% ± 2.7% RH (Coccyx). Differences in size of RH change were seen across the measurement locations used to study the body-seat interface. The initial sitting contact induces a transient RH response (duration ≤ 40 s) that does not accurately reflect the microenvironment at the body-seat interface. It is likely that any movement during sitting would result in similar artefact formation. As a result, caution should be taken when investigating RH performance at any enclosed interface when the surfaces may have different temperatures and movement may occur.
- Body-seat interface
- Dual temperature-humidity sensor
- Sitting rate
- Thermal impact
- Transient response