Frontline workers typically refuse to wear protective clothing because it is stuffy, causes sweating, and is uncomfortable. However, the development of fabrics that combine liquid resistance with breathability became critical for a coverall. Breathable fabric can withstand liquid hazards while allowing sweat to pass through. It provides both safety and a comfortable wearing experience at the same time.
Let us learn what breathability is, how it is measured, and how useful these measurements are for our lives in working environment.
How can we measure breathability?
A fabric’s breathability refers to its ability to take away water vapors produced by perspiration. To determine breathability, the moisture vapor permeability of the breathable fabric must be tested. Many manufacturers are doing this. They do not, however, use the same test method.
Many manufacturers have used Moisture Vapor Transmission (MVT) and Thermal Evaporative Resistance (Ret) measurements to determine breathability. The Upright Cup test and the Inverted Cup test are the two methods for measuring moisture permeability. The Sweating Hot Plate test, also known as the Hohenstein Skin Model test, is used to determine the thermal resistance level of the fabric itself.
Moisture Vapor Transmission (MVT)
Upright Cup Test
In the Upright Cup test, the cup is placed upright in a humidity-controlled environment. After a period of time, a piece of fabric is placed and secured over the cup, and the weight change is measured. The outcome is determined by how much moisture passes through, and the amount is extrapolated to grams for one square meter of fabric over a 24-hour period.
There are two types of Upright Cup test methods: the Water Method and Desiccant Method. Both Water Method and Desiccant Method are considered basic testing methods based on a straightforward principle. The Water Method uses distilled water in the cup, and the vapor moves through the specimen from the water to the controlled atmosphere. While for the Dessicant Method, the test specimen is sealed to the open mouth of a test cup containing a desiccant and placed in a controlled atmosphere. Water vapor moves from the atmosphere through the specimen and into the desiccant.