Thermal Conductivity of Human Fat and Muscle


UNTIL recently, it was generally believed that human subcutaneous fat serves as an effective insulator. Nevertheless, we have been unable to trace any record of actual measurements of the thermal conductivity of human tissue. Bordier1, in 1898, made experiments on beef tissue by a satisfactory method. He found the muscle to conduct 1.8 times as well as the fat. A few other less satisfactory measurements were made about the same time with similar results. The human case was assumed to be similar.

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  1. 1

    Bordier, H., Arch. Physiol., (5), 10, 17 (1898).

  2. 2

    Hardy, J. D., and Soderstrom, G. F., J. Nutr., 16, 494 (1938).

  3. 3

    Hatfield, H. S., and Wilkins, F. J., J. Sci. Instr., 27, 1 (1950). Hatfield, H. S., J. Physiol., 111, 10 P (1950).

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HATFIELD, H., PUGH, L. Thermal Conductivity of Human Fat and Muscle. Nature 168, 918–919 (1951).

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