Functional clothing works – but not in all kinds of weather

Save favourite Print 3 Apr April 2017

We often assume that pieces of clothing with microporous membranes that are both ”waterproof” and that transport moisture away from the body, are functional in all kinds of weather. However, temperature and air humidity affect their efficiency. This is the result of tests conducted by researchers at the Mid Sweden University Sports Tech Research Centre.

Studies of temperature and air humidity of clothing with microporousmembranes in realistic conditions emphasize the importance of knowledge about the characteristics of the materials. Microporousmembranes can only transport moisture away from the side where the air moisture is higher and here, the temperature is a relevant factor.

– This means that clothing with these membranes potentially act in a different way when the air humidity changes. The clothes can be very efficient at low air humidity and at a low temperature and less efficient in terms of transporting moisture away from the body in rainy conditions or at higher temperatures, says Mikael Bäckström, Head of the Sports Tech Research Centre.

The researchers at Sports Tech Research Centre use a tailor-made sensor system that combines the temperature and humidity sensors to measure the performance and comfort of the garment, providing information about the characteristics for transport of warmth and humidity. The tests are conducted under realistic conditions in the wind tunnel at the Sports Tech Research Centre, on a treadmill and under supervised temperature and condensation.

The ambition is to develop new methods that enable manufacturers to test different membrane materials in environments that represent the conditions they are to be used in, which gives the producers more reliable information for their product development. 

Contact

Mikael Bäckström, Head of Sports Tech Research Centre, 
010-142 83 01, e-post: mikael.backstrom@miun.se

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