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Textile Research Journal

http://trj.sagepub.com Moisture Management Tester: A Method to Characterize Fabric Liquid Moisture Management Properties
Junyan Hu, Yi Li, Kwok-Wing Yeung, Anthony S. W. Wong and Weilin Xu Textile Research Journal 2005; 75; 57 DOI: 10.1177/004051750507500111 The online version of this article can be found at: http://trj.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/75/1/57

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JANUARY 2005

57

Moisture Management Tester: A Method to Characterize Fabric Liquid Moisture Management Properties
JUNYAN HU, YI LI, KWOK-WING YEUNG, ANTHONY S. W. WONG,
AND

WEILIN XU

Institute of Textiles and Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong ABSTRACT Fabric liquid moisture transport properties in multidimensions, called moisture management properties, signicantly inuence human perceptions of moisture sensations. A new method and instrument called the moisture management tester (MMT) is developed to evaluate textile moisture management properties. This new method can be used to quantitatively measure liquid moisture transfer in one step in a fabric in multidirections, where liquid moisture spreads on both surfaces of the fabric and transfers from one surface to the opposite. Ten indexes are introduced to characterize the liquid moisture management properties of fabrics. Eight sets of sportswear are tested with the MMT and the results show that liquid moisture management properties are signicantly different for these fabrics. The objective measurements are compared with subjective perceptions of moisture sensations during exercise. A fabrics one-waytransport capacity and its overall moisture management capacity are signicantly correlated with perceptions of clammy and damp sensations with increased exercise time, indicating that subjective perceptions of moisture sensations in sweating such as clammy and damp can be predicted by the measurements of the MMT.

Liquid moisture transfer in clothing signicantly inuences the wearers perception of moisture comfort sensations [2, 4, 5, 6]. A key cooling mechanism of the human body is sweating and evaporation. Water vapor carries heat away from the body as it evaporates from the skin surface or the fabric surface. In the garment-skin microclimate, absorption of sweat by the garment and its transportation through and across the fabric where it is evaporated are related to clothing comfort perceptions. Functional fabrics with excellent moisture management properties can be found on the market and are widely used for sportswear, high value casual wear, and uniforms. These fabrics are claimed to have quick drying rates and the most efcient movement of moisture away from the skin with excellent breathability. Some standards and test methods can be employed to evaluate a fabrics simple absorbency and wicking properties [1, 3], and the liquid strike-through time of nonwovens also can be tested according to ISO 9073-8 [7]. However, the existing standards are unable to measure the behavior of dynamic liquid transfer in clothing materials. In this paper, we report a new test method for characterizing the moisture management properties of textiles.

value of the resistance change will depend on two factors: the components of the water and the water content in the fabric. When we x the inuence of the water components, the measured electrical resistance is related to the water content in the fabric [9]. The electrical resistance of textiles is usually very large when placed in a closed circuit, shown in Figure 1. Thus, no electric current can be detected, and the voltage on the reference resistor of 1 M is almost zero. However, when a fabric is wet or contains a certain quantity of moisture, the resistor will be reduced to the hundreds K level. Therefore, voltage change can be detected on the reference resistor of 1 M. We use such a method here to measure changes in the moisture content on the two surfaces of textiles [8].

Test Method Principle and Apparatus Design


When moisture is transported in a fabric, the contact electrical resistance of the fabric will change and the
Textile Res. J. 75(1), 57 62 (2005)
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FIGURE 1. Simple model of the testing method.

0040-5175/$15.00

58 If the voltage between Vss and GND is V0 , the resistance of the fabric is Rf and the resistance of the resistor (1M used here) is Rc. Then the V-test (V1) is V1 so Rf V0 1 Rc V1 , (2) V0 Rc Rc Rf , (1)

TEXTILE RESEARCH JOURNAL surface, and spreading outward on the bottom surface of the fabric and then evaporating. The resistance of each couple of proximate metal rings will decrease because the solution can conduct electricity when it arrives at the area where it is surrounded by the two proximate metal rings. The apparatus is linked with a computer so the signal is logged into the computer and can thus be processed immediately. Therefore, the water contents of the fabrics two surfaces can be determined by the following equations: Ut

where Rf is a known function of moisture content (M ), as shown by Equation 3: 1 AM Rf Thus M can be expressed as M 1 V1 AR c V 0 V 1 . (4) . (3)

i0

M and U M
5 5 ti b i0

bi

(5)

where Ut total water content on the fabric top surface, Ub total water content on the fabric bottom surface, and Mti and Mbi indicate the water content in the area between each couple of proximate metal rings at the top and bottom surfaces, which can be calculated by Equation 4 for each ring separately.

We can therefore see that for a certain fabric, M is positively and linearly related to V1/(V0 V1), which is the principle that we have used to detect moisture content in the fabric. A is determined by the calibration experiment to nd the relationship between Rf and M for individual rings [9]. To objectively and accurately measure fabric moisture management properties, we have designed an apparatus, and a sketch of the measuring head is shown in Figure 2. The specimen is held at by top and lower sensors at a certain pressure. A certain weight (0.15 g) of a predened test solution (synthetic sweating, AATCC 15) is then put into the sweat gland and introduced onto the top surface of the fabric. Meanwhile, the computer dynamically records the resistance change between each couple of proximate metal rings individually at the top and lower sensors. The solution will transfer in three directions after arriving on the fabrics top surface: spreading outward on the top surface of the fabric, transferring through the fabric from the top surface to the bottom

Experimental Environment Conditions


To strongly reduce the environmental factors inuencing the measurements, specimens should be cut into 90 90 mm squares and washed by an ultrasonic cleaner to remove any excessive water and wrinkles, then put into a conditioning room at 21 1C and 65 2% RH (ASTM D1776) for at least 24 hours to reach equilibrium regain. INDEX DEFINITIONS The typical water content changes versus time on the fabrics top and bottom surfaces (Ut and Ub) are shown in Figure 3, demonstrating that the water content of the fabrics top surface is much lower than that of its bottom surface. This indicates that most of the liquid introduced onto the top surface of the fabric transfers quickly to the bottom surface. From the measurement curves, we have derived a set of indexes for determining the fabric moisture management properties, which we dene below [8].

FIGURE 2. Sketch of tester sensors.

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JANUARY 2005

59

FIGURE 3. Typical measurement water content curves (sample A92NP).

1. Wetting time WTt (top surface) and WTb (bottom surface) (seconds): WTt and WTb are the time periods in which the top and bottom surfaces of the fabric just start to be wetted, respectively, after the test commences, dened as the time in second(s) when the slopes of total water contents on the top and bottom surfaces (i.e., Ut and Ub) become greater than tan (15). Wetting times can be compared with the absorbency drop test specied in AATCC 79. 2. Maximum absorption rates MARt and MARb (%/ second): MARt and MARb are the maximum moisture absorption rates of the fabric top and bottom surfaces, respectively. Typically, they are the initial slopes of the water content curves. The maximum absorption rates (%/second) are dened as MARt MaxSlopeUt , MARt 0 if MARt 0 and MARb MaxSlopeUb , MARb 0 if MARb 0 . (7) , (6)

radii at the top and bottom surfaces, respectively, where the slopes of water content (Mti or Mbi) become greater than tan (15) for the top and bottom surfaces, respectively. 4. Spreading speeds SSt and SSb (mm/sec): SSt and SSb are the speeds of the moisture spreading on the top and bottom fabric surfaces to reach the maximum wetted radius, dened as SSt and SSb MWRb twrb , (9) MWRt twrt (8)

where twrt and twrb are the times to reach the maximum wetted rings on the top and bottom surfaces, respectively. 5. Cumulative one-way transport capacity OWTC: OWTC is the difference in the cumulative moisture content between the two surfaces of the fabric in the unit testing time period: OWTC Ub Ut T , (10)

3. Maximum wetted radii MWRt and MWRb (mm): MWRt and MWRb are dened as the maximum wetted ring

where T is total testing time.

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60 6. Overall moisture management capacity (OMMC): This is an index to indicate the overall ability of the fabric to manage the transport of liquid moisture, which includes three aspects of performance: moisture absorption rate of the bottom side, one-way liquid transport ability, and moisture drying speed of the bottom side, which is represented by the maximum spreading speed. The overall moisture management capacity (OMMC) is dened as OMMC C1 MARb C2 OWTC C3 SSb , (11)

TEXTILE RESEARCH JOURNAL were selected for this study. All testing occurred in a conditioning room, where the environmental conditions were controlled at 21 1C and 65 2% RH according to ASTM D1776. From each set of sportswear, ten specimen pieces were cut into 90 90 mm squares, washed in an ultrasonic cleaner, and ironed to remove any excessive water and wrinkles. They were then conditioned in the conditioning room for at least 24 hours. To simulate sweating, a special solution (synthetic sweat) was introduced onto the fabrics top surface during the test, prepared according to the standard AATCC15. During testing, the same quantity of solution (0.15 g) was injected onto each specimens top surface automatically by the MMT. The basic properties of each fabric are listed in Table I.

where C1 , C2 , and C3 are the weights of the indexes of the absorption rate (MARb), the one-way transport capacity (OWTC), and the spreading/drying rate (SSb). Here, C1 0.25, C2 0.5, and C3 0.25, and they are adjustable in practice according to end-of-use purposes. The values of the coefcients used here are determined by analyzing the relative importance of absorbance, oneway transport, and drying speed, and the correlations of the indexes with subjective moisture sensations from our results, which are obtained from our pre-experimental results analysis. The larger the OMMC, the higher the overall moisture management ability of the fabric.

Results and Analysis


OBJECTIVE MEASUREMENTS The measurement results are summarized in Table II. A one-way ANOVA analysis helped identify the signicance of the differences between fabrics using the software SPSS 10.0. Table II reveals that fabric A92NP has the highest liquid moisture management capacity (OMMC 68) and one-way transfer capacity (OWTC 103), showing

Experimental
Eight kinds of tight-tting garments, ve of which were name brands purchased from department stores,

TABLE I. Fabric content and construction. Fabric code N88P C98L2 N85L15 R95C P98L2 E95C A92Np N95C Average weight g/m2 280.0 179.0 215.0 260.0 220.0 240.0 360.0 410.0 Average thickness mm 0.84 0.73 0.57 1.10 1.27 1.01 1.12 1.50 88% 98% 85% 95% 98% 95% 92% 94% Fabric content polyester & 12% spandex cotton & 2% spandex nylon & 15% spandex cotton & 5% spandex polyester & 2% spandex cotton & 5% spandex nylon & 8% spandex cotton & 6% spandex Fabric construction plain knitted plain knitted plain knitted plain knitted rib knitted plain knitted plain knitted rib knitted

TABLE II. Summary of fabric moisture management properties. Fabric N88P C98L2 N85L15 R95C P98L2 E95C A92Np N95C mean SD mean SD mean SD mean SD mean SD mean SD mean SD mean SD WTt 3.74 0.56 4.98 1.23 3.03 0.11 3.46 0.25 3.15 0.13 3.17 0.20 6.33 0.98 7.51 1.98 WTb 3.44 0.42 4.39 0.48 8.32 2.66 119.95 0.00 13.52 3.50 119.95 0.00 4.23 0.38 7.16 0.75 MARt 20.07 3.77 23.15 6.23 105.65 21.00 70.54 9.79 101.67 18.72 93.71 26.41 20.46 8.28 41.14 32.62 MARb 39.30 19.01 56.25 22.90 135.44 43.47 0.70 0.37 194.57 49.00 1.18 0.73 65.11 12.82 22.39 7.24 MWRt 15.00 0.00 14.38 1.77 8.13 2.59 10.00 0.00 7.50 2.67 10.00 0.00 8.75 2.31 6.88 2.59 MWRb 15.00 0.00 12.50 2.67 5.63 1.77 0.00 0.00 6.88 2.59 0.00 0.00 10.63 1.77 10.00 0.00 SSt 0.82 0.09 0.75 0.07 1.08 0.50 0.89 0.08 1.10 0.64 0.93 0.09 0.67 0.09 0.64 0.30 SSb 0.87 0.09 0.81 0.16 0.49 0.16 0.00 0.00 0.30 0.15 0.00 0.00 0.80 0.12 0.58 0.06 OWTC 45.31 17.68 38.33 15.35 10.50 51.86 208.51 7.39 2.81 25.43 273.96 36.97 103.74 9.81 18.13 17.68 OMMC 32.70 12.98 33.43 10.68 28.73 27.37 104.08 3.69 50.12 23.58 136.69 18.46 68.35 7.26 3.33 9.47

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JANUARY 2005 that liquid sweat can be easily and quickly transferred from next to the skin to the outer surface to keep the skin dry. This fabric also has a relatively large spreading rate (SSb 0.8 mm/s) and medium wetted radius (MWRb 10.63 mm) on the bottom surface, indicating that liquid can spread on the bottom surface and dry quickly. E95C and R95C, on the other hand, have poor liquid moisture management properties with very low wetted radii and spreading rates (MWRb 0 mm and SSb 0 mm/s for both fabrics) on the bottom surface, and negative one-way transport capacities (OWTC 273.96 and 208.51 individually), indicating that the liquid (sweat) cannot diffuse easily from the next-to-skin surface to the opposite side and will accumulate on the top surface of the fabric. N95C and N85L15 represent another fabric type with a lower one-way transfer ability (OWTC 18.13 and 10.50, respectively), and medium or low wetted radii and spreading rates (MWRb 10.0, 5.63 mm, and SSb 0.58, 0.49mm/s, individually) on the bottom surface, indicating that the liquid (sweat) cannot easily diffuse from the next-to-skin surface to the opposite side and evaporate into the environment. They are slow drying fabrics. C98L2 and N88P have medium one-way transfer abilities (OWTC 38.33 and 45.31, respectively), higher spreading rates (SSb 0.81 and 0.87 mm/s, respectively), and larger wetted areas (MWRb 12.5 and 15.00, respectively), indicating that the liquid (sweat) can transfer from the surface next to the skin to the opposite surface and spread quickly on the fabric bottom surface with a large wetted area, where it evaporates into the environment. Such fabrics have quick-drying abilities. P98L2 also has a good moisture management property (OMMC 50) and strong absorbtion properties on both sides (MAt 101.67 and MAb 194.57), but a weak in one-way transfer capacity (OWTC 2.81), spreading rate (SSb 0.30 mm/s), and wetted radius (MWRb 6.88mm) on the bottom surface, indicating that the liquid (sweat) can transfer from the surface next to the skin to the opposite surface but can not easily evaporate into the environment. Through a one-way ANOVA analysis, we nd that there are signicant differences in the liquid moisture management properties of the fabrics in the all measured indexes at the level of P 0.01, except for SSt at p 0.029.

61 with temperature and humidity controlled at 29 1C and 85 2% RH [11]. Subjects were required to run on a treadmill while wearing a randomly selected garment for 20 minutes, then to rate two moisture sensations (clammy and damp) on a 7-point scale before (time 0), during (time 5, 10, and 15), and at the end (time 20) of the 20-minute running period. At the end of the trial, subjects were required to rest for at least 30 minutes, allowing them to cool down and dry their bodies. After the 30-minute rest, subjects were required to repeat the trial process with another garment [10]. Figure 4a shows the relationships between OMMC and clammy. The correlations between the two are not signicant at 0, 5, and 10 minutes, but become signicant at 15 and 20 minutes of running. This shows that the perception of clammy is not related to the OMMC before liquid sweat becomes signicant during exercise. The correlation between OMMC and clammy increases from r 0.658 at 15 minutes to r 0.776 at 20 minutes.

Subjective Perceptions of Moisture Sensations


Twenty-eight females between ages 18 and 35 participated in a psychological sensory wear trial as subjects, conducted in an environmentally controlled chamber
FIGURE 4. Relationships between (a) garments clammy sensation rating and OMMC over time, and (b) garments damp sensation rating and OMMC over time.

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62 Similar to these ndings, Figure 4b shows the correlations between OMMC and damp, which are not significant at 0 and 5 minutes but are signicant at 10, 15, and 20 minutes of the running period. This indicates that when liquid sweat increases and accumulates in the fabric as the trial progresses, the over-all moisture management capacity of the fabric becomes more important and plays a more important role in making the wearer dry. The correlation between OMMC and damp increases from r 0.734 at 10 minutes to r 0.892 at 20 minutes. There are no signicant differences between the subjective ratings of clamminess at time 0, when subjects are wearing garments made of fabrics with OMMC values differing between 150 and 100. The same phenomenon also occurs at 5 and 10 minutes. Similarly, there are no signicant differences between the subjective ratings of dampness at 0 and 5 minutes when subjects are wearing garments made of fabric with the same range of OMMC values. This suggests that subjects cannot notice the differences in OMMC properties within these time periods. On the other hand, there are signicant differences between subjective ratings of clamminess at 15 and 20 minutes and at 10, 15, and 20 minutes for dampness sensations. This suggests that subjects can notice the differences in OMMC properties within these time periods. This may be explained by the fact that subjects do not sweat or do not sweat enough in the beginning of the wear trial. Therefore, we have found no signicant differences in the perception of moisture related discomfort sensations at the beginning of the wear trial. As the running time continues, the relationship between OMMC and subjective ratings gets stronger. The pattern is similar for relationships between OWTC and the subjective ratings of clamminess and dampness. These results suggest that the inuences of OMMC are not signicant until subjects generate signicant amounts of sweat to perceive moisture related discomfort.

TEXTILE RESEARCH JOURNAL properties of the fabrics are much different. Some fabrics, like A92NP, have good over-all moisture management properties and a one-way transfer property, where the sweat can quickly transfer from the surface next to the skin to the opposite side. Some fabrics have quickdry or quick-absorb properties, and some fabrics have water repellent properties. Subjective perceptions of clammy and damp are signicantly inuenced by garment type and running duration. The ratings of both moisture sensations have clearly increasing trends as the running time increases from 0 to 20 minutes. Measurements of fabric OMMC are signicantly correlated with both moisture sensations at 15 and 20 minutes, but not at 0 and 5 minutes during the running trial. This shows that measurements of OMMC on the fabric can be used to characterize the moisture related comfort of active sportwear. ACKNOWLEDGMENT We would like to thank The Hong Kong Polytechnic University for funding this research through IGARD project 9348 and ASD project A188.

Literature Cited
1. AATCC Test Method 79, Absorbency of Bleached Textiles, AATCC, 2000. 2. Benisek, L., Harnett, P. R., and Palin, M. J., Inuence of Fibre and Fabric Type on Thermophysiological Comfort, Melliand Textilber. Eng. Ed. 68 (12), 878 (1987). 3. BS 3424: Part 18: 1986 (1996) Methods 21A and 21B, Methods for Determination of Resistance to Wicking and Lateral Leakage, BSI, 1996. 4. DSilva, A. P., et al., Concurrent determination of absorption and wickability of fabrics: A new test method. Journal of the Textile Institute, 2000. 91 part 1 (3), Pp. 383396. 5. Holme, I., Survival 2002, Textile Month (5), 3537 (2002). 6. Holme, I., Survival 2002: Performance Garments, Textile Horizons (5/6), 7 8 (2002). 7. ISO 9073 8, TextilesTest Methods for Nonwovens Part 8: Determination of Liquid Strike-through Time, 1995. 8. Institute of Textiles and Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, MMT User Manual, p. 16, 2000. 9. Li, Y., Xu, W., and Yeung, K. W., Moisture Management of Textiles, U.S. patent 6,499,338 B2, 2000. 10. Wong, A., Li, Y., and Yeung, K. W., Comfort Perceptions and Preferences of Young Female Adults for Tight-t Sportswear, in Proc. Textile Institute 82nd World Conference, Cairo, Egypt, 2002.
Manuscript received January 6, 2003; accepted August 19, 2003.

Conclusions
We report on a new test method and tester, that can be used to characterize the moisture management properties of fabrics. With this new apparatus, we can measure dynamic liquid transfer in a fabric in three directions in one step. Eight sets of sportswear are tested in the laboratory, and the measurement results show that there are signicant differences in all measured indexes among the fabrics. Although the fabrics are selected from branded sportswear in the market, the moisture management

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