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Fabric drains sweat
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(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Fabric drains sweat on 05/20/2013 18:01:12 MDT Print View

Non-Wetting Fabric That Drains Sweat Invented
May 20, 2013 — Waterproof fabrics that whisk away sweat could be the latest application of microfluidic technology developed by bioengineers at the University of California, Davis. The new fabric works like human skin, forming excess sweat into droplets that drain away by themselves, said inventor Tingrui Pan, professor of biomedical engineering. One area of research in Pan's Micro-Nano Innovations Laboratory at UC Davis is a field known as microfluidics, which focuses on making "lab on a chip" devices that use tiny channels to manipulate fluids. Pan and his colleagues are developing such systems for applications like medical diagnostic tests.

Graduate students Siyuan Xing and Jia Jiang developed a new textile microfluidic platform using hydrophilic (water-attracting) threads stitched into a highly water-repellent fabric. They were able to create patterns of threads that suck droplets of water from one side of the fabric, propel them along the threads and expel them from the other side.

"We intentionally did not use any fancy microfabrication techniques so it is compatible with the textile manufacturing process and very easy to scale up," said Xing, lead graduate student on the project.

It's not just that the threads conduct water through capillary action. The water-repellent properties of the surrounding fabric also help drive water down the channels. Unlike conventional fabrics, the water-pumping effect keeps working even when the water-conducting fibers are completely saturated, because of the sustaining pressure gradient generated by the surface tension of droplets.

The rest of the fabric stays completely dry and breathable. By adjusting the pattern of water-conducting fibers and how they are stitched on each side of the fabric, the researchers can control where sweat is collected and where it drains away on the outside.

Workout enthusiasts, athletes and clothing manufacturers are all interested in fabrics that remove sweat and let the skin breathe. Cotton fibers, for example, wick away sweat — but during heavy exercise, cotton can get soaked, making it clingy and uncomfortable.

just Justin Whitson
Re: Fabric drains sweat on 05/20/2013 22:48:31 MDT Print View

The effects sounds a bit like the pumpliner's that Furtech and Paramo use. Also sounds a bit like Nano-tex's "dry inside" stuff. Funny enough, i just bought a shirt with the latter and a pump liner made out of the Paramo fabric. I don't know how true it is or not, but Nano-tex claims that all their "nano" modifications last for the lifetime of the garment. I will be trying both of these under my Houdini to see how well they keep me dry during cold rains. I'm also going to try a lighter/thinner polypro baselayer soaked in Nikwax DWR also.

Nano-tex also has an interesting and supposedly truly durable DWR called Aquapel, uber tiny micro fibers that are imbedded in the larger fibers and which repel water. Would like to try that as well, maybe combine it with the paramo pump liner, dry inside shirt, and/or the DWR soaked polypro baselayer. Dick's Sporting goods sells a jacket with this fabric treatment for 49 dollars currently. Unfortunately without a hood for some reason.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 05/20/2013 22:50:03 MDT.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Fabric drains sweat on 05/20/2013 23:56:50 MDT Print View

Sounds exactly like the Nikwax pumpliner.

Dustin Short
(upalachango) - MLife
American Exceptionalism...innovation through rebranding on 05/21/2013 12:51:20 MDT Print View

This is totally new breakthrough. Sure it "sounds" like the Nikwax pumpliner but these guys are using the term "microfluidics" for their technology! It's a complete game marketing.