Spatial and temporal migration of sweat: from skin to clothing

Purpose Moisture accumulation in clothing affects human performance and productivity through its impact on thermal balance and various aspects of discomfort. Building on our laboratory’s work on mapping sweat production across the body, this study aimed to obtain detailed spatial and temporal maps showing how this sweat migrates into a single clothing layer (T-shirt) during physical exercise. Method Eight male participants performed running exercise in a warm environment. Garment sweat absorption was mapped over a total running time of 50 min, in 10 separated running trials of different durations (5 min increments). After running, the garment was dissected into 22 different parts and local sweat absorption (ABSlocal) was quantified by weighing each garment part before and after drying. From ABSlocal, garment total sweat absorption (ABStotal) was estimated.Results After 50 min, Tcore rose from 37 ± 0.2 to 38.6 ± 0.3 °C, HR increased from 69 ± 15 to 163 ± 12 bpm (p < 0.001), GSL was 586 ± 86 g m−2. Clear patterns of sweat absorption reduction from superior-to-inferior and from medial-to-lateral T-shirt zones were observed, with the mid back medial and the low front hem showing the highest, respectively. Conclusions Quantitative data on garment total and regional sweat absorption were obtained and considerable variation between different garment zones was identified. These data can support the development of sport and personal protective clothing with the end goal to prevent workers’ heat-related injuries as well as maximise human performance and productivity.