Design Implementation, Fabric Analysis, and Physiological and Subjective Testing of a Sportswear Garment Prototype
Type of Degreedissertation
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The present study focused on the objective and subjective evaluation of a sportswear shirt prototype designed for hot environments in its ability to regulate heat transfers, moisture transport, and provide overall wearer comfort. In the first part of the study, the thermophysiological comfort properties (i.e. thermal conductivity, thermal resistance, air permeability, water vapor transport, and wicking ability) of fabric samples from the prototype (NEW-J and NEW-P) were tested using textile-based laboratory methods. The prototype fabric samples were compared to a polyester/spandex fabric sample (POLY) and a cotton sample (COT). The results suggested that the thermophysiological comfort properties of the fabrics appear to be affected by their knit structure more than their fiber properties alone. In the second part of the study, wearer trials were performed to investigate the effects of the prototype on physiological and subjective responses while cycling in a hot, dry environment. The prototype (NEW) was compared to two commercially produced hot-weather sportswear shirts comprised of the fabrics from the first part of the study (COT and POLY). Twelve healthy, active males performed 3 randomized trials on an electronic cycle ergometer in a controlled environment (35°C, 40% RH, 2 m/s air velocity). The cycling protocol consisted of a 45-min. bout at 50% of each participant’s VO2max workload, followed by a 12-mile time trial. Heart rate (HR), core temperature (Tc), mean torso skin temperature (Tsktorso), and perceived exertion (RPE) were recorded every 5 minutes throughout the 45-min. bout. Ratings of thermal sensation, thermal comfort, and wetness sensation were recorded during the 45-min. bout at minutes 0, 15, 30, and 45, and immediately following the completion of the 12-mile time trial. Ratings of thermal sensation for NEW were significantly better than both COT and POLY at 15 min. (p < .05), 30 min. (p < .05), and post time trial (p < .001 and p < .01, respectively). Thermal comfort in NEW was significantly better than COT at 15 min. (p < .05), 30 min. (p < .05), post 45 min. (p < .01), and post time trial (p < .01). Wetness sensation in NEW was significantly better than both COT and POLY at post 45 min. (p < .001 and p < .05, respectively) and post time trial (p < .01 and p < .05, respectively). No significant differences between shirts were observed for HR, Tc (p = .07), Tsktorso, sweat loss, or 12-mile trial completion time (p = .11). Results revealed more favorable comfort responses for the prototype shirt. Although the prototype did not produce statistically significant thermophysiological effects, it’s important to note that apparel marketers may acknowledge statistical values less stringent than p ≤ .05.