Sweat Be Gone! Non-Wetting Fabric

A waterproof fabric that moves sweat away from the body was developed by bioengineers at the University of California, Davis. The material forms sweat into droplets that can be drained away.

(From The hydrophobic fabric repels water except where stitched with channels )

Graduate students Siyuan Xing and Jia Jiang developed a new textile microfluidic platform using hydrophilic (water-attracting) threads stitched into a highly water-repellent fabric. They were able to create patterns of threads that suck droplets of water from one side of the fabric, propel them along the threads and expel them from the other side.

"We intentionally did not use any fancy microfabrication techniques so it is compatible with the textile manufacturing process and very easy to scale up," said Xing, lead graduate student on the project.

It's not just that the threads conduct water through capillary action. The water-repellent properties of the surrounding fabric also help drive water down the channels. Unlike conventional fabrics, the water-pumping effect keeps working even when the water-conducting fibers are completely saturated, because of the sustaining pressure gradient generated by the surface tension of droplets.

The rest of the fabric stays completely dry and breathable.

This material would be a perfect choice for the stillsuit from Frank Herbert's classic 1965 novel Dune.

It's basically a micro-sandwich; a high-efficiency filter and heat-exchange system. The skin-contact layer is porous. Perspiration passes through it, having cooled the body. Motions of the body, especially breathing, and some osmotic action provide the pumping force. With a Fremen suit in good working order, you won't lose more than a thimbleful of moisture a day - even if you're caught in the Great Erg.

From Science Daily; thanks to Winchell Chung (aka @nyrath) for the tip.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/24/2013)

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