Innovative yarn for sportswear and leisure wear

9th February 2012, Bönnigheim

German scientists have developed a new versatile functional yarn which aims to give maximum comfort and has excellent thermal insulation properties. Working in partnership with Zwickauer Kammgarn GmbH and Helmut Peterseim Strickwaren GmbH in Mühlhausen, researchers at the Hohenstein Institute in Bönnigheim, have developed an innovative new yarn for knitted textiles.

The new hybrid yarn HP2G combines the benefits of synthetic fibres with those of wool fibres, a combination which is said to guarantee excellent thermal insulation, while sweat is transported away efficiently and the fabric dries quickly. The yarn is also said to have good resistance to pilling.

According to the researchers this all means that fashion garments made of the new hybrid yarn are easier to look after, do not suffer from felting and look as good as new, even after being worn for a long time.

Project leader Martin Harnisch from the Hohenstein Institute sees excellent potential for the newly developed yarn - especially for sportswear.

"Garments made from this yarn have very good sweat management properties and at the same time provide excellent thermal insulation. Being properly protected from the cold is really important, especially during rest periods after strenuous physical activity, when it has been found that the body loses a great deal of heat,” Harnisch says.

“Endurance athletes such as runners and cyclists will particularly benefit from this innovation because they will find that it helps prevent the unpleasant sensation of cooling down and shivering after exercise - what is called 'post exercise chill', which can be damaging to the health," he adds.

Even for less strenuous sports such as golf or hiking, or in certain jobs, clothing made from the newly developed yarn is said to have great potential.

Combining natural and synthetic

Knitted textiles have the ability to trap a great deal of air, which, when the fibres are combined with wool, gives good thermal insulation and enables them to absorb a great deal of moisture.

However, the researchers say, when the moisture content reaches about 33%, which is easily achieved during physical exertion, pure wool no longer feels comfortable. The liquid perspiration cannot evaporate from the skin and is absorbed by the wool fibres and very damp wool can create an unpleasantly wet, cold sensation on the skin.

“This is where synthetic fibres can come in useful. The advantage of them is that they usually do not absorb water, or only very little. This means that they can wick the liquid sweat away from the skin,” the Hohenstein explains, adding:

“The innovative hybrid yarn HP2G combines the positive characteristics of synthetic and natural fibres: it absorbs sweat quickly and transports it away from the body.”

“That keeps the wearer as comfortable as possible, with their skin feeling dry. During light exercise or after a long period of strenuous physical exertion, it also offers the necessary thermal insulation, and so keeps the body temperature constant.”

New product range

The manufacturers involved in the project have created a new and complex range of fabrics and garments based on the functional yarn, ranging from jackets and sweaters to functional accessories such as caps, hats, wrist-warmers and gauntlets.

“Thanks to these functions and properties, using the new yarn for the uniforms of care home staff or other high-performance professional clothing meets a requirement from these users which could previously not be satisfied. Functional clothing such as this, which is positioned between sportswear and classic fashionable knitwear, is not currently available on the market,” the Hohenstein concludes.

Production and processing technologies have been adapted to suit the newly designed yarn and enable problem-free series production.

In addition to the areas of application mentioned above, the researchers say that the very special properties of this innovative yarn open up other potential new applications - for example for furnishing fabrics or automotive seating fabrics.

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