Human wetness perception in relation to textile water absorption parameters under static skin contact

Skin-wetness-perception (WP) greatly affects thermal and sensorial discomfort in clothing and as such is of great interest to the clothing industry. Following neurophysiological studies of WP, this study looks at textile parameters affecting WP. Twenty-four fabrics, varying in thickness, fibre-type and absorption capacity were studied. Using twelve participants (males/females), the WP induced was studied in four wetness states: 1:Dry; 2:ABS, all having the same absolute water content of 2400μl per sample (= 0.024μl·mm-2); 3:100REL, saturated with water to their individual absorption capacity; 4:50REL, to 50% of the value in 3. As total absorption capacity was highly correlated (r=0.99) to fabric thickness, condition 3 and 4 were equivalent to having the same water content per volume of textile, i.e. 0.8 and 0.4μl·mm-3 respectively. Samples were applied to the upper back, statically to minimise the contribution of surface roughness/friction. WP was highly correlated to drop in skin temperature induced by the wet fabric, and increased with application pressure of the fabric. No effect of fibre-type was observed. In REL, with equal μl·mm-3, WP showed a positive correlation to total fabric watercontent-per-area (μl·mm-2), and thus also to thickness, given the correlation between the latter two, with saturation above 1.5μl·mm-2. In ABS on the other hand, with equal μl·mm-2, and thus with relative water content (μl·mmμl·mm-3) inversely proportional to thickness, WP was also inversely proportional to thickness. Thus WP showed opposing responses depending on the wetting type, indicating that the methodology of manipulating water content should be selected in relation to the product end-use.