Manikin used to test comfortability of infant car seats

Mohammad Iftekharul Alam researched how the material of infant car seats impact the infant’s comfort

| Author: Hadlee Rinn | Media Contact: Kara Owens

Mohammad Iftekharul Alam, a May 2023 graduate of Fashion, Interior Design, and Merchandising, studied how the shape and material of infant car seat covers impact the thermal comfort of infants in summer conditions.  

As a thermal comfort researcher and car enthusiast, Alam was inspired to research this topic after discussing with his advisor, Professor Tanya Domina. The decision to focus on infant car seats also came from the department’s own “sweating, infant manikin named Lumi.” Alam says, “We took this opportunity because the infant manikin is fairly new to the industry and a lack of research has been done on the thermal comfort of the infants while they travel inside the car during summer conditions.”  

In an exploratory experiment, Alam used Lumi and an environmental chamber to test infant car seats in different conditions. Additionally, a sweat-guarded hot plate and air permeability tester was utilized to test the seat covers.  

As a result of his study, Alam suggests parents look for car seats with mesh or polyester blend fabrics because the material allows more airflow. Parents should avoid wool fabrics during the summer months, as they were the warmest and had the lowest air permeability. 

Alam plans to work in the industry and continue to research thermal comfort of textile and apparel products. He also hopes to collaborate with CMU on research in the future to continue working with his faculty. Later, he plans to receive a Ph.D. and possibly become an instructor to work with new generations and use his knowledge in innovative research.  

This story is brought to you by the  Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

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