The use of infrared thermal imaging to measure spatial and temporal sweat retention in clothing

In our previous laboratory study a ‘destructive’ gravimetric method was developed to quantify local garment sweat absorption. While this currently is the only methodology that permits direct and analytical measurements of garment regional sweat absorption, the latter approach is time-consuming and expensive, therefore of limited applicability. As such, in this study, we wanted to assess whether infrared thermography could be used as an indirect method to estimate garment regional sweat absorption, right after exercise, in a ‘non-destructive’ fashion. Spatial and temporal sweat absorption data, obtained in our previous study, were correlated with spatial and temporal temperature data obtained in the same experiment with an infrared thermal camera. The data suggest that infrared thermography is a good tool to qualitatively predict regional sweat absorption in garments at separate individual time points; however temporal changes are not predicted well, due to a moisture content threshold above which variations in sweat content cannot be discriminated by further temperature changes.