Techtextil to see focus on temperature regulating clothing

December 19, 2014 - Germany

Techtextil fair which runs from May 4-7, 2015 in Germany will see a strong line up of suppliers of personal protection equipment, clothing and workwear focusing on multi functional multi standard clothing.

The functional material suppliers are trying to offer a genuine and partly life-saving surplus value in one system by means of new material components.

In addition, personal protection equipment are designed to offer a high degree of lightness and comfort under all working conditions and an ounce of fashionable chic as well.

Three technologies are in the focus of attention regarding development and production of functional clothing.

In the first place are membranes, which can be found in the form of polytetrafluor ethylene, polyether/polyester, polymer and polyurethane.

They are practically superior to other materials as regards waterproofing, wind resistance and breathability.

Membranes allow the extremely small moisture vapour molecules emitted from the human body to penetrate through the micropores of the closed membrane and to carry them off to the ambient air.

However these same membranes 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.

As regards breathability, all membranes require additional functional partners in order to allow obtain good results.

This means that waterproofing can be achieved in all varieties by means of seam-welded and taped membranes in many varieties and are less critical than the humidity management.

Microporous membranes are airtight 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 or the so-called fir cone principle.

It opens their pores under the influence of heat and closes them under cold and wind. This technology is offered exclusively by Swiss functional textile manufacturer - Schoeller.

In case of laminates, there are two types of laminates; lamination by means of heat and pressure and thermo fixing with hot-melt adhesive.

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 water tightness 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 and the advantage of the fluffy effect compares with reduced water tightness, nevertheless they can brave the most part of the weather conditions except heavy rain.

Thirdly, polyurethane coatings (PUR) are a conventional alternative to the membranes as regards water tightness and breathability.

Usually the reverse side of the fabric is coated thus allowing the fabric to provide an exchange of humidity and concurrent water tightness.

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.

However, the disadvantage is that 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 and they are sturdy and easy to clean.

Next are the phase change materials (PCM) and nanotechnology offered by Outlast as one of the most established suppliers in the form of surface printing, coatings or any other fibre matrix.

The used paraffin like substances 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 and while 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 which an excessive production of sweat is prevented.

Thanks to the modular or layer-wise structure of the temperature-regulating systems it is possible to have clothing which has features like weather protection, protection clothing, flame resistance, welder’s protection and 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 as in case of work under heat exposure.

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 like Sympatex, Outlast, Transtextil and Schoeller will exhibit their latest developments of multifunctional protection systems at Techtextil. (AR)