The article critically reviews the recent research trends related to comfort characteristics of fabrics. The comfort properties of fabrics are of sensorial and non sensorial nature. Many researches have focussed on these aspects. Comparative studies on cotton and cotton/polyester blend fabrics woven in various designs have shown that cotton fabrics exhibit better comfort properties than their blend counterpart. Active sports wear is one area where comfort is crucial. In this regard the comfort properties of different bi layered knitted structures made from outer layer comprising of tencel yarn and inner layer of acrylic/microfiber polyester. Such an investigation is intended to largely help the researchers who are analysing the comfort characteristics of layered knitted fabrics for sports wear. Utilization of recycled polyester in the knit apparel industry is ever increasing but the characterization of knit apparel made from recycled polyester yarns is limited to mechanical and moisture management properties.
Hence the thermal comfort properties of single jersey knit fabrics made from recycled polyester and cotton blended yarns have been investigated. A special design clothing based on sombrero effect by inclined wedge providing shadow on the base material has been proposed and investigated analytically to improve the thermos physiological comfort under dry and hot environment. Such an investigation offers a new design concept to engineer the clothing surface to reduce heat load under dry hot radiation and the mathematical model forms a basic framework for analytical modelling the heat mass transfer in such systems.
Intensive growth of world population indicates the need of making clothing fabrics that comply with the requirements of a large number of consumers. It is not enough for clothing fabrics to have only a good painting, colorful solution and durability. The fabrics should also have good comfort properties. According to the literature1, there are two aspects of clothing comfort, viz sensorial and non-sensorial. Sensorial properties such as fabric handle, compression properties, electro-physical properties and frictional properties describe the performance of a fabric on skin contact. Non-sensorial comfort is not only comprised thermal and moisture transmission but also includes air permeability, water repellency and water resistance. From the survey of literature, it is evident that a large number of studies are devoted to determining both sensorial and non-sensorial properties of fabrics [1-9].
In textiles due to continuous changing preference, product diversification becomes one of the crucial issues for a visible economic activity. The evolution of synthetic fibres, which have many advantages over cotton in certain aspects like durability and elasticity, has revolutionized the textile production . As a result of this change in raw material utilization, combined with an enormous increase in energy and chemical demand, the world is now facing an ecological crisis. Further, the ever decreasing
petroleum reserves all over the globe have compelled the textile manufacturers to look for alternate sources for raw materials, which are friendly to environment and biodegradable. Polyester and cotton account for 40% and 35% of global clothing industry respectively. Polyester is a petroleum-based synthetic fibre and relies on the utilization of non-renewable resources.
The stringent environmental requirements coupled with people’s increased awareness on environmental friendly practices have facilitated the development and utilization of eco-friendly practices. Recycling of materials is considered to be eco-friendly and post- consumer polyethylene terepthalate (PET) bottles are recycled using mechanical and chemical processes [11-15]. Deserts constitute nearly 7% of the land area of the globe and hot dry deserts and semi-deserts are living place of nearly 6% of global population. The typical air temperature ranges there between 35 ℃ and 55 ℃ and relative humidity of air remains less than 40%; often becomes 4 - 10%. The heat flux of solar radiation during noon can become 750W/m2 or even more. The clothing used in these extreme climates must give sufficient protection from direct exposure to sun and provide thermo-physical comfort to the wearer who is generally exposed to dangerous intense solar radiation and high air temperature during the day.
It is well known that the nomadic population in sub-tropical
desert regions use special style of clothing but a scientific
investigation of the various design factors of clothing for such
application is not reported often. Human body has a typical core
temperature of 37 ℃, and the skin has a typical temperature
of 33 ℃ - 34 ℃ under normal condition . In active sports,
the performance of sportswear is identical with its comfort
characteristics. The important quality decisive factor that affects
performance, efficiency and well-being of sportswear is the wear
comfort . Any physical activity will produce different levels
of the need to release excessive heat and maintain a stable body
Although the electrical properties of woven fabrics have
been studied for a long period of time, this topic still leaves
many opportunities for various researches, especially when it
covers the comfort of clothing fabrics. Since textile materials
are in continuous contact with consumer bodies during their
use, it would be necessary to investigate an appearance of static
electricity which creates unfavorable effects like increased
dirt, cleaning problems and increased tendency of materials
to form the rolled-up ends of fibres on their surface. Created
static electricity in textile material may also lead to sticking to
textile fabrics for the consumer bodies or other textile materials,
creating an unpleasant sensation when wearing these clothes
These unfavorable effects are especially pronounced in
synthetic textile fabrics with extremely high electric resistances,
and low values of relative dielectric permeability [21-26]. For
these reasons, the tendency of textile materials to produce
static electricity might be considered the most important single
criterion of comfort. The sensory aspect of textile comfort, like
handle of clothing material, is getting more priority in the quality
evaluation of fabric [27,28]. One of the most important indicators
of fabric handle is softness which can be judged through the
change of fabric thickness under the influence of compression
load. Magnitude of compression load generated in the textile
material and how it is distributed on the skin influence human
perception of fabric softness and fabric comfort quality.
In addition to the above, air permeability is also considered
as an important comfort property of the fabric. It determines the
ability of air to flow through a given area of the fabric [29,30]. Air
flow through textiles is mainly affected by the pore characteristics
of fabrics. If there is no possibility of air flow through the pores of
the fabric or the flow is difficult, very soon it will cause feeling of
discomfort. For this reason, air permeability might be considered
as a feature of fabric which has a great contribution in overall
clothing comfort. Due to the well-known tendency of textile
materials to produce static electricity, which causes unpleasant
sensation on the skin, an attempt has been made to study the
quality of clothing woven fabrics primarily through their electrophysical
properties, such as volume resistivity, effective relative
dielectric permeability .
In order to get a complete picture of the comfort quality
of investigated fabrics, compression properties such as
compressibility, compressive resilience, and air permeability
have been studied. Values of monitored characteristics were used
for establishing the level of quality of clothing woven fabrics with
regard to their comfort properties by the application of ranking
method. Findings of the study show that the cotton fabrics
are characterized by lower values of the volume resistivity as
compared to fabrics that have been produced from cotton/PES
fibre blends. Also, it is found that the volume resistivity increases
with the decrease in humidity that can be ascribed to decrease in
the moisture content of the textile samples.
The effective relative dielectric permeability increases with
the increase in relative humidity, hence woven fabrics with the
highest moisture contents generally have the highest values of
effective relative dielectric permeability. The results show that
the air permeability depends on the porosity of fabrics with
very high coefficient of linear correlation (0.9807) between
the air permeability and the porosity. Concerning compression
properties, cotton fabrics exhibit better compressibility, but
worse compressive resilience compared to cotton/PES fabrics.
Besides, it has been noticed that all investigated comfort
properties of woven fabrics are determined by the raw material
composition, type of weave as well as fabrics surface condition.
Application of ranking method indicates the fact that
the cotton woven fabric in satin weave has the best comfort
properties and cotton/PES woven fabric in twill 3/1 weave
has the poorest. Also, the group of cotton fabrics has better
characteristics of comfort in regard to the group of cotton/PES
blend fabrics. Studying the relationship between fabric structure
and clothing comfort as well as variation in parameters of fabric
structure enables to obtain a woven material as per the demand
of textile market in terms of required comfort properties.
One such hitherto less investigated lingo cellulosic fiber is the
seed fiber obtained from Pergularia daimio, naturally growing
drought and pest resistance tree of Indian origin, well known
for its medicinal values [31,32]. The plant Pergularia Dalmia
belongs to the family of Asclepiadaceous and genus of Pergularia
and comes under the milkweed fibres. The milkweed flowers
are grown as milkweed pod which contains the seed attached
with the fibre or floss which is filled with tiny hollow tube-like
structures that act as insulators [33-37]. Like cotton, it is a single
cell fibre, but unlike cotton, it is free from convolutions and has
low cellulose content [38,39]. Due to its very smooth surface,
spinning of 100% milkweed fibre is difficult. Because of its
short length, milkweed floss has been blended with cotton and
processed to develop yarns in ring and rotor spinning systems
The studies conducted on spinning of milkweed fibre blends
showed that spinning of pure milkweed fibres is not practically possible due to the inherent characteristics of the fibre and
could be able to spin with other fibres after suitable chemical
modification of fibres. Further, the properties of milkweed
blended yarns are found to be inferior to 100% cotton yarn
[42-44]. This study explores the dyeability of cotton/milkweed
rotor yarn fabrics with reactive and natural dyes and comfort
properties of cotton/milkweed blended yarn fabrics .
Mechanical recycling is basically a melt extrusion process
and chemical recycling aims at the reduction of plastic polymers
into various levels like oligomers or monomers by reaction with
certain chemical agents. Blending of various fibres is a familiar
practice in the textile industry. Blending aims at enhancement
of the properties of resultant fibre mix and optimizes the cost of
raw materials .
Polyester/Cotton (P/C) fibre blending displays higher
durability and easy care properties than 100% cotton . Of
late, recycled fibres are supplemented with the addition of virgin
polyester fibres and/or cotton in order to achieve enhanced
properties, aesthetics and functional values [48,49]. Researchers
have successfully studied the blending of recycled PET flakes
with virgin PET chips [50-55]. Recycled polyester blended yarns
were successfully produced by ring, rotor and friction spinning
[56-61]. Knit fabrics are commonly preferred in sportswear,
casualwear and innerwear due to their outstanding comfort
properties, extensible loop structure, light weight, warmth,
wrinkle resistance and easycare properties . Plain knitting
amounts to 90% of all knitted fabric consumption globally
[23,63]. Growing awareness on eco-friendly practices has
expanded the production of knitted goods with the inclusion of
recycled fibres and their blends [24,64].
Comfort is typically defined as “the absence of displeasure
or discomfort”, or “a neutral state compared to the more active
state of pleasure [25,65]”. Clothing comfort can be classified into
four categories, namely psychological, thermo-physiological,
sensorial (tactile) and garment fit comfort [26,66]. Psychological
comfort relates to the sensory perceptions and fashion trends,
thermo-physiological comfort is governed by movement of air,
moisture and heat through the fabric, sensorial (tactile) comfort
depends upon fabric surface and mechanical properties and
garment fit comfort depends on the fit (loose/normal/tight) of
the garment on the body. Of these four types of comfort, thermal
comfort has drawn the attention of numerous researchers due
to significance of maintenance of thermal balance at various
atmospheric conditions Literature suggests that thermal comfort
depends on a wide variety of parameters such as fibre properties,
yarn properties, fabric properties, finishing (mechanical and
chemical) treatments and clothing conditions [27-40,67-70].
Thermal comfort can be best understood by the measurement
of thermal conductivity, thermal resistance, air permeability and
relative water-vapor permeability.
Utilization of recycled polyester in the knit apparel is ever
increasing but the characterization of knit apparel made from
recycled polyester blended yarns is limited to mechanical
and moisture management properties. Choi and Kim 
have characterized the mechanically recycled PET, chemically
recycled PET, PET-nylon 6 blend and virgin PET knitted fabrics
and found that tensile, compressional and pilling properties of
both mechanically and chemically recycled PET knitted fabrics
were similar to that of virgin knitted fabrics and wick ability
of mechanically recycled PET knitted fabric was better than
other recycled PET knitted fabrics and recycled PET–nylon6
blend knitted fabric possess good moisture regain, moisture
permeability, smoothest appearance and coolest feeling .
The primary objective of the present study is to investigate
the thermal comfort properties of single jersey knit fabrics made
from recycled polyester and cotton blended yarns. To fulfill this
objective, effect of recycled polyester fibre content, linear density
and loop length on thermal comfort properties has been studied.
It is found that the recycled polyester blend ratio, loop length,
linear density have significant influence on single jersey fabric’s
thermal comfort properties. It is observed that with the increase
in recycled polyester ratio, fabric becomes thinner, lighter and
more porous with higher thermal conductivity, air permeability,
relative water-vapor permeability and lesser thermal resistance.
Similarly, increase in linear density results in thicker, heavier
and less porous fabric with higher thermal conductivity, lesser
air permeability and thermal resistance and high relative watervapor
permeability at medium linear densities . Loose
structure results in thinner, lighter and more porous fabric with
higher thermal resistance, air permeability and relative watervapor
permeability and lesser thermal conductivity. Optimum
blend ratio, linear density and knit structure can be suitably
designed to meet the thermal comfort requirements of various
The tolerance of the thermo-physiological system in case of
human is narrow and therefore care must be taken to respect
such narrow tolerance and maintain thermo- physiological
comfort by ensuring an optimum heat flow across the skin. An
ordinary human being can be considered to be in a thermophysiologically
comfortable state when the average outward (or
cooling) heat flux across his skin from body core to environment
is around 90-120 W/m2. This net heat flux is generally a function
of the metabolic condition, environment condition along with the
design and properties of the clothing. The body generally loses
heat due to pure heat convection transfer and sweat evaporation
associated with free convection (when air temperature is lower
than the skin temperature), or due to forced convection, when a
human walk with common velocity (3 - 4km/h), which is around
The radiation loss from the body is largely compensated by
the incident scattered radiation from surrounding and the net
balance depends on the temperature of the surrounding. The heat gained by the body is primarily due to the metabolic heat
generated inside, the convective heat transfer from air to skin
when air temperature is higher than skin and radiation incident
on skin, particularly direct radiation from hot sources such as
Sun. Clothing must act as an engineered system which can impart
the net heat balance towards the direction necessary so as to
maintain a comfortable heat flow as mentioned above. The role
of various design parameters of clothing on the thermal comfort
and protection provided by clothing ensemble has been the
topic of scientific research for a reasonable time. For example,
the effects of apertures, air gaps and reflective layers have been
studied experimentally [2-7]. Manikins are generally used for
such purpose. A number of empirical models for clothing comfort
has been proposed as well. Only a few of them have discussed
the role of radiation and hot climate on the overall heat-mass
transfer through clothing. Shkolnik et al . reported their
studies on the effect of different dress styles and coolers on the
net heat transferred through the clothing to skin surface under
real conditions in a desert.
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