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Monday, December 22, 2014

Temperature Balancing Technologies in Clothing

The forthcoming Techtextil fair that will be taking place May 4 to 7, 2015 in Frankfurt will open new doors in regard to bringing more awareness to temperature balancing clothing and fashion accessories.

Three technologies are the primary focus of attention in regard to the development and production of temperature balancing functional clothing.
  1. Membrane
  2. Coating
  3. Finishing

Each method has its own merits.

The membranes - Temperature balance 1

The membranes which can be found in the market in the form of polytetrafluor ethylene (microporous, oriented), polyether/polyester (closed, hydrophilic), polymer (bionic) and polyurethane (microporous). They are practically superior to other materials as regards waterproofness, wind resistance and breathability (WWB values).  All membranes work according to the same basic principle: they allow the extremely small moisture vapor molecules emitted from the human body to penetrate through the micropores or hydrophilic components of the closed membrane and to carry them off to the ambient air but do not allow the incomparably larger rain drops to penetrate. The consequence is that the sweat is kept away from the body and the rain cannot penetrate through the clothing. This physical principle works the better the larger the difference between the body temperature and the ambient temperate is.

As regards  breathability, all membranes require additional  functional partners in order to allow to obtaining good results. This means that waterproveness which can be achieved in all varieties by means of seam-welded and taped membranes in many varieties is less critical than the humidity management.  Microporous membranes are wind-tight thanks to their hedge structure by which the wind gets caught and is turned off. The bionic membrane works according to a natural climatisation principle: the so-called fir cone principle.  It opens their pores under the influence of heat and closes them under cold and wind. This working principle is offered exclusively by the Swiss functional textile manufacturer Schoeller.

Better protection by means of lamination

In principle three types of laminates (lamination by means of heat and pressure, thermo fixing with hot-melt adhesive) exist: the double layer laminates such as shell or lining laminates or three-layer laminates which connect  the membrane to the shell and the lining. According to the requirements one differentiates between hard shell and soft shell laminates. The hard shell laminates are characterized by their outstanding watertightness and sturdy face. They do not provide cold insulation and are inelastic. Soft-shell laminates which are mostly used for the manufacture of vests and jackets are normally provided with a fleecy inner face. They are elastic and comfortable. The advantage of the fluffy effect  compares with reduced watertightness. Nevertheless they brave the most part of the weather conditions except heavy rain.

Coatings - Temperature balance 2

Polyurethane coatings (PUR) are a conventional alternative to the membranes as regards waterthightness and breathability. Usually the reverse side of the good is coated thus allowing the fabric to provide an exchange of humidity and a concurrent water thightness and a low grammage as well so that a similar effect as it is the case with the membrane laminates is achieved. The textiles manufactured in such a way are less expensive than any of the membrane variants. In addition, they allow more flexibility regarding the choice of the shell and its character. Disadvantage: the coatings have less stability against loading which has to be taken into account in linen rental services. Experiments are being carried out with flame resistant admixtures with the aim of obtaining a wider applicability. Polyurethane coatings in the form of various sorts of synthetic leather are used on the front side of goods such as work shoes and safety shoes. They are sturdy and easy to clean.

Finishing - Temperature balance 3

The phase change materials (PCM) and the nanotechnology (1 nm = 10-9m)  are part of the equipment’s as well which often happens “concomitantly”. Physics also provide the desired climate in the case of PCM materials which are offered by Outlast as one of the most established suppliers in the form of surface printing, coatings or fiber matrixes (polyester, acrylic, viscose). The used paraffin like substances which are embedded in micro spherules change from solid to liquid under temperature influence. For the phase change into fluid, the increased heat is absorbed and virtually stored in order to preserve this condition. As being cooled down, the material gets solid again whilst the heat is released slowly. A temperature balance is created that avoids peaks towards excessive heat and cold so that comfort does not get lost. By that an excessive production of sweat is prevented. These materials are used for the inner workings of shoes as well, equipped with hydrophilic material and combined with a watertight membrane as supplied  by Smypatex so that the feet remain dry from inside and outside.

Multi-standard as an incentive

Thanks to the modular or layer-wise structure of the temperature-regulating systems it is possible to meet the requirements of several standards in terms of weather protection, protection clothing, flame resistance, welder’s protection, protection against fault arcing or electrostatic discharge. The most important standard mostly dictates the choice of the outer layer and the structure of the entire system, e.g. in case of work under heat exposure. The suppliers are working intensively on the task to shape as flexible as possible the number of single components for the range of personal protection equipment and work protection clothing.

Companies among them Sympatex and Outlast, Transtextil and Schoeller will exhibit their latest developments of multifunctional protection systems at the international leading trade fair Techtextil from May 4 to 7, 2015. At this event, manufacturers of protection clothing and protection shoes have the opportunity to discover new materials for the future generation of such systems. In addition, the specialized fair Texprocess taking place at the same time in form of a compound fair offers a variety of technologies and approaches of processing such materials.

Source for much of above: Messe Frankfurt

See more at http://textilesupdate.com/techtextil-2015-temperature-regulating-functional-clothing-the-multinationals-are-coming

You may also have interest in viewing flame retardant clothing manufacturers on the Apparel Search factory directory.


Companies such as Under Armour, Nike, adidas, etc., are obviously already paying attention to textiles and processes that assist with temperature balancing.  Apparel Search is not sure, but we assume that companies such as these would want to attend the Techtextil event taking place in May.

Learning about issues relevant to the apparel or textile industry is always important.  You can find some more of our news articles on this subject by going to the apparel industry blog page.

Thank you for taking the time to read our textile industry blog post. We hope that you have found this news to be informative. If you have comments or questions, please add your thoughts in the discussion area below.

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