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Hohenstein begins first clothing physiology test in space
24
Apr '14
Hohenstein Institute, a pioneer in the science of clothing physiology, leads a group that will send performance textiles to the International Space Station next month for testing in gravity-free conditions. The research will help scientists and fabric manufacturers understand how to better outfit astronauts and also to optimize textiles to function better in extreme conditions on Earth such as for athletes, firefighters, military personnel, and people who work in extreme climates. 
 
Clothing physiology is the study of the interaction of apparel, the human body, and the climate and the impact that interaction has on psychological and physical performance and well-being. Hohenstein has worked to define the science, conducting ground-breaking research to quantify the concept of comfort and to link comfort to concentration and other performance measures. 
 
“The opportunity to study clothing physiology in space will give us insights that are hard to capture otherwise,” says Hohenstein’s Dr. Jan Beringer. “The absence of gravity affects everything from the moisture wicking and drying time physics to the body’s thermoregulatory process during exertion to even how clothing smells after use. Comfort is defined completely differently under these conditions.”
 
The research is part of “Spacetex”, a joint project between Hohenstein; the Charité university research hospital in Berlin; Swiss performance fabric manufacturer, Schoeller Textil AG; and DLR, the German Aerospace Center. “Spacetex” is sanctioned by NASA and conducted in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA).  
 
Dr. Beringer and fellow “Spacetex” Principal Investigator, Prof. Dr. Hanns-Christian Gunga of the Center of Space Medicine at the Charité, began working with ESA astronaut, Dr. Alexander Gerst, on Earth. They evaluated Dr. Gerst’s performance while wearing work out apparel made of a special Schoeller polyester fabric system and while wearing regular cotton apparel. Dr. Gerst will repeat these tests while in residence at the International Space Station and report his findings. The test clothing Gerst wears in space will be returned to Earth for comparison and evaluation as well. 
 
With the Mars mission on the horizon, the “Spacetex” project will provide critical data for scientists and textile engineers to assess how fabrics can help keep astronauts at peak physical and mental condition during long space voyages in alien environments. 
 

Hohenstein


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