Innovation in moisture management technologies accelerates as consumers demand greater functionality from performance apparel, according to a 39-page report called “Moisture management technologies: innovation in performance and comfort” from the global business information company Textiles Intelligence.
Much research effort is being concentrated on enhancing the functionality of moisture management fabrics, and some of the latest fabrics on the market boast additional properties such as antimicrobial efficacy, odor control, and ultraviolet (UV) protection.
One of the most exciting developments in the field of moisture management technology has been the introduction of fabrics that provide a cooling sensation as well as transport moisture.
For example, HeiQ, based in Zurich, Switzerland, has developed a treatment called HeiQ Adaptive AC-06 which contains a hydro functional polymer that responds to changes in body temperature.
Garments that incorporate fabrics treated with HeiQ Adaptive AC-06 provide a cooling sensation when the wearer’s body temperature reaches 28°C.
At this temperature, the structure of the polymer changes and this increases the fabric’s ability to wick moisture away from the skin. The moisture is wicked to the surface of the fabric and from here it evaporates.
Tests have found that garments made using fabrics to which the treatment has been applied are capable of reducing the wearer’s core body temperature by 1.5°C-2.5°C.
In the years ahead, the pace of development in moisture management technology is likely to accelerate as fabric and garment manufacturers compete to enhance the comfort properties of their product offerings further.
Also, suppliers of fabrics and apparel will capitalize on the advantages of smart textile technology and biomimetics. The use of smart textile technology and biomimetics will pave the way for the development of garments that are capable of performing several functions while keeping the wearer cool and dry.
Biomimetics is innovative technology inspired by biological systems such as plants and animals. Scientists and engineers in a diverse range of fields have looked at how such forms of life have evolved in order to perform certain functions, and have used those observations to develop some of the most successful innovations in the modern era.
There will be a significant increase in the affordability, availability, and choice of multifunctional garments and this should foster continued growth in the market for moisture management fabrics.
The companies most likely to succeed in the market will be those able to commercialize products that represent true innovations rather than new versions of existing products.