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T-PACC Launches a Consortium to Address Comfort Methods and Standards for Performance Textiles

Close up of lab equipment

For more than twenty years, the Textile Protection and Comfort Center (T-PACC) at NC State has led the nation and the world in the development and application of advanced laboratory test methods for measuring the wear comfort of materials and clothing. Now the Center is launching an exciting new industry research initiative:  The Consortium for Outdoor Materials and Performance Ensembles Testing and Evaluation (COMPETE).

The purpose of the COMPETE initiative is to provide a platform for funding graduate research projects that will advance the state-of-the-art of available, validated, test methods and consensus performance standards for the industry that provides products for the consumer, protective, medical and for the outdoor and sports performance markets. These methods will also support industry in substantiating claims on performance of novel consumer products.

There are several potential projects where research to support development and/or validation of test methods for comfort is currently needed. These include:

• Objective measurement of fabric hand: A validation study on the Fabric Feel Tester (FFT)
• Procedure development for using a Dynamic Air Permeability Cell to characterize breathability of moisture reactive materials
• Validation study on instrumental methods for measuring the comfort of thermally reactive (phase change materials)
• Comparative study of instrumental methods for measuring moisture management
• Developing protocols for measuring odor retention in performance clothing
• Procedures to optimize advanced physiological manikins and models for evaluating comfort of performance apparel
• Develop consensus comfort ratings for performance products based on objective measurements of sensorial, thermal and moisture management properties

These studies will be completed in T-PACC’s world class labs using capabilities that will fully benefit COMPETE. One of the tangible benefits of membership in COMPETE is that participating companies’ representatives will get a vote that will be used to prioritize and select the projects to be conducted by COMPETE.

On May 26, T-PACC will host a one day Comfort Measurement Workshop to be held at the NC State Wilson College of Textiles in Raleigh, N.C. The workshop will address understanding of state-of-the-art clothing comfort measurement and the gaps that need to be filled by focused research. The workshop will also include preliminary research T-PACC has conducted that has led the Center to define the list of potential research projects for COMPETE. A tentative workshop agenda is available below.

Attendance at the Comfort Measurement Workshop does not imply COMPETE consortium registration.

Membership consortiums like COMPETE are a highly cost effective way for companies to leverage the cost of supporting university research of interest to them and to the industry by contributing a nominal financial contribution. When more members are added to the current consortium, it will leads to an increasing amount of research for the same membership fee. Companies essentially share the cost and benefits of research that would otherwise cost individual companies far more to support by themselves.

Companies are encouraged to learn more and advance the state-of-the-art of industry consensus test comfort methods and standards for performance textiles by becoming a member of COMPETE. For more information, contact Dr. Roger Barker or Dr. Emiel DenHartog.