Hohenstein researches thermal comfort in sunlight

16 Feb '16
3 min read

Hohenstein Institute is researching on how the structure of the textile and length of the garment affect people's thermal comfort in intense sunlight.

Scientists have derived some design tips on how to make sportswear that provides the best possible protection from harmful UV radiation, while at the same time being very comfortable to wear.

“The results give sportswear producers and retailers the opportunity to open up new product segments with this kind of improved garment,” a Hohenstein press release revealed.

“For end users, these textiles offer a better way of protecting themselves from skin cancers such as white skin cancer,” the textile testing institute added.

According to the institute, in summer, athletes and people who work mainly outdoors are exposed to direct sunlight for several hours at a time and so have to protect themselves from harmful UV radiation.

“Long-sleeved clothing and sun blocking creams do offer protection, but during intense physical activity they reduce the dissipation of heat through the skin, which ultimately affects wearer performance,” it noted.

On the other hand, short-sleeved clothing allows sweat to evaporate and so cools the body down, but it offers no protection from either carcinogenic UV radiation or infrared thermal radiation.

The aim of the research was to examine systematically the relationship between thermoregulation and sun protection.

The innovative concept at the heart of the research project was that the scientists would study the effect of textile construction like fibre material, colour, finishing treatment on clothing.

In the first step, the researchers selected six different textile base materials in which the main fibres were polyester (PES), polyamide (PA) and lyocell/polypropylene (CLY/PP).

Then, in the next step, these were treated with red and black dyes and three UV protection agents and were tested for their UV protection and protection they offered against hot sunshine.

In the following step, the samples that were particularly good at thermoregulation were made into shirts and trousers with sleeves and legs of different lengths.

Then these garments, worn by a thermal manikin, were exposed to a specific amount of heat radiation to simulate warming by the sun, which varied depending on the length of the garment.

Finally, following evaluation of the laboratory tests, wearing trials were carried out using volunteers, to further validate the best test samples.

It emerged that the ideal blend of fibres should consist of CLY/PP/PA, because fabrics made of CLY/PP are very comfortable to wear and when combined with PA fibres, offer a high degree of UV protection.

Dyeing the textiles red or black significantly increased the UV protection compared with the white samples, and proved to be more effective than applying the chosen UV-protection agents to the textile. (AR)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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