Performance textile firm director calls for tests that reflect reality

In her key note speech at the 2017 Textile International Forum and Exhibition, Ardmel Group Director Arlene Kidd called for innovative testing that reflected the real-world conditions.

Ardmel designs and manufactures performance clothing for recreational/sports use as well as for the military, police, security and rescue teams. In her speech, Kidd highlighted the importance of having a testing mechanism for performance textiles that are based on reality.

Using breathability as an example, Kidd pointed out that currently the most widely accepted standard, ISO 11092, does not put the textile to the test in real-world conditions. The ISO 11092, which sets its test conditions at 35 degrees Celsius outside temperature and a relative humidity of 40 percent, cannot measure the performance of “breathable” textile in subzero winter temperature and snow/rain.

The test, for example, does not address the problem of condensation building up inside the clothing with textile when the temperature drops below 14 degrees Celsius, with makes the wearer fill wet and in more dangerous case, causes the clothing to freeze up.

When the temperature is high, on the other hand, breathability can be reversed, drawing hot steam and vapor inside the garment, boiling the wearer.

Kidd called for breathability tests in the cold, wet and dry conditions that measure condensation within the garment the layers of a garment system. Kidd stressed that such tests can be life-saving as performance garments are used by many working extreme conditions.

An India military serviceman caught in a mountain accident wearing Ardmel garment was able to survive for nine days under extremely cold temperature. While the serviceman died of other complications after he was saved, he did not suffer from any cold injuries, Kidd said. Had he worn a garment that cannot prevent condensation, he would have died earlier of hypothermia.

The problem with the current, however, is that standards committees are made up of test houses and large multinational firms that have prevented change, Kidd said. These committees pass test that geared toward the interests of large monopolies instead of the users, she pointed out. She called her the industry, the media and users to look beyond brand name products and brand name standards to recognize the importance of realistic tests. She suggested the innovators and businesses in Taiwan embrace and even create alternative tests to better serve the users.