CR 26:77-84 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/cr026077

Effect of ancient Inuit fur parka ruffs on facial heat transfer

Aline J. Cotel1,*, Raymond Golingo2, Jill E. Oakes3, Rick R. Riewe4

1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2125, USA
2Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-2400, USA
3Department of Native Studies, and
4Department of Zoology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada

ABSTRACT: The traditional clothing system developed and used by the Inuit is the most effective cold weather clothing developed to date. One of the key elements used by the Inuit is a fur ruff attached to the hood, hem, and cuffs of their parkas. This paper determines why the fur ruff is so critical to the effectiveness of cold-weather clothing, especially in protecting the face, without impeding movement or view, so essential to the Inuit hunter. To quantify the effectiveness of this clothing, heat transfer was measured on a model placed in a subsonic wind tunnel. The wind velocity and angle to the wind were varied. A boundary layer forms on the face, and heat transfer was measured across that layer using thermocouples. Different fur ruff geometries were examined to determine which was most efficient. The experimental results were combined with data collected using ethno-historical methods since 1970 by 2 of the authors. The traditional headgear proved to be the most efficient. The lowest heat transfer was found for the sunburst fur ruff geometry at different angles of attack and wind speeds. This unique combination of scientific and traditional Aboriginal knowledge provides a holistic perspective on new insights into the effectiveness of cold-weather clothing systems.


KEY WORDS: Cold-weather clothing · Inuit fur ruff design · Heat transfer · Wind-tunnel measurements


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