The way clothing interacts with the body, particularly regarding the dissipation of heat and moisture, plays a large role in the wearer’s perceived comfort. Today, textile fabrics used for clothing have new functional properties to improve the wearer’s sensory comfort and thermal comfort, meaning that air and water vapor permeability to achieve clothing comfort is crucial.
Air permeability is a widely used test which measures how easily air is passed through fabric and helps to indicate the fabric’s breathability, particularly for wind-resistant, weather-resistant and waterproof fabrics. It is an important factor in measuring both the porosity and density of fabric, and assessing the performance of materials like industrial curtains, sails, airbags, and parachutes for a variety of end uses such as military, industrial, medical, automotive and sports/outdoor apparel.
The main influences on air permeability are the density of the material (shape/value of the fabric/yarn’s pores) and its structure, e.g. the fabric weave, the raw material of the yarns, the set of yarns etc. In addition, air permeability is influenced by the chemicals and coatings used on the outer layers of clothing, which can modify and/or restrict the flow of air through the material.
The new AirPro air permeability tester from James H. Heal & Co. Ltd., Halifax/UK, is designed to test the resistance of the flow of air through woven, knitted and nonwovens materials. It is supplied with TestWise software, making it intuitive and easy to use. Displayed on a 7” touchscreen, itallows the user to choose from pre-loaded standards or create their own. It detects the test area used and warns the user if an incorrect head is inserted. Test reports are easy to view and analyze on screen and can be customized for export to Excel or PDF. AirPro’s large illuminated test bed can accommodate large samples and is suitable for testing a variety of different materials.