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Hohenstein measures performance of functional garments
19
Dec '08
Functional clothing, high quality sleeping bags and bedding are designed to protect people from external weather conditions and support the body's thermal regulation system. Adequate heat insulating material is one of the essentials for textiles that are supposed to keep out the cold. When temperatures are warmer or during physical activity, perspiration should be drawn away from the body quickly and released into the environment+-, in order to support the cooling of the body.

Since 1946, a series of measurement technologies have been developed at the Hohenstein Institutes in Bönnigheim, Swabia. These methods make it possible to evaluate objectively the interplay between the body, climate and clothing in order to assess what is known as their physiological comfort. In making these assessments, a fundamental distinction is made between thermo-physiological aspects – i.e. the management of warmth and moisture, and how the textile feels on the skin (skin sensibility).

Thermo-physiological measurement methods:

The Hohenstein Skin Model:
The Hohenstein Skin Model simulates the way the skin emits heat and moisture. It consists of a sintered, porous metal plate that can be warmed electrically and to which water is supplied. It is located in a climate-chamber, a space where the most diverse environmental conditions can be simulated. Temperature, humidity and the movement of air can be set as desired.

For substances and fabrics, measurements taken using the skin model supply specific parameters such as, for example, thermal insulation and moisture transport resistance a measure for "breathability," perspiration transport and sweat buffering, and drying time, etc. These parameters characterise the thermo-physiological quality of textile materials

Thermally Segmented Testing Mannequins `Charlie 3´, `Charlie 4´ and `Charlene´:
The thermal insulation of ready-made garments, bedding and sleeping bags can be measured with the help of the thermally segmented testing mannequins `Charlie 3´, `Charlie 4´ and `Charlene´ who were also developed at the Hohenstein Institute. Using what are known as human thermoregulation models, the heat generated by adults and children is set.

The segmented mannequins are made of copper or synthetic materials and have been fitted with a computer-controlled heating system that allows the heat generation for different parts of the body to be regulated individually and independently of one another. The more heat emitted from the arms or legs, for example, the worse the thermal insulation of the garment is for those areas of the body.

These figures are very significantly influenced by the movement of air when the body is in motion. Therefore the segmented mannequin `Charlie 4´ has been set up so he is able to move during testing as if he were out for a brisk walk.

The assessments made using the thermally segmented testing mannequins are an important complement to those made using the skin model, because the influence of the way the item or garment is made (fit, elasticised cuffs, turtlenecks, etc.) can be taken into consideration. But because the `Charlies´ and `Charlene´ can do all this without breaking a sweat, moisture management – and with it a significant aspect of thermo-physiological wear comfort – can only be evaluated when the results of tests made on the skin model are available to use as a basis.

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