KIRAF: Beat the Heat

A photo of the KIRAF: Beat the Heat team working on their projectSponsor: Kaneka

Team Members: Jamie Honeycutt, Lillian Lopez, Angelica Talley

Project Description: More than 62.3 million gym members visit the gym 104 days per year. Every time they go, they get hot and drenched in sweat. Now imagine a fiber that could be incorporated into your clothing to help you cool down. Our senior design project was sponsored by KANEKA and centered around Kaneka Infrared Absorptive Fiber (KIRAF), a fiber they developed that has heightened IR management properties. The fiber has already been in use in protective workwear such as firefighter gear. The goal of this project was to explore ways in which the KIRAF fiber could potentially be used when incorporated into other products. We also evaluated how the addition of KIRAF fiber into a product would affect and possibly improve the product.

After narrowing down our ideas of all the possible products KIRAF could possibly be incorporated in, we decided to focus on looking at how well KIRAF could work in a sports shirt type garment. We began working with the knitting lab at Wilson College to develop fabrics that would be suitable for sport shirts of different polyester/KIRAF blends.We ordered a commercial garment with similar properties to compare our developed fabrics to. We decided to test these fabrics on key metrics such as heat transfer, breathability, hand, and wicking as these are important characteristics to active wear. Based on this, we evaluated how the different polyester/KIRAF blends compared to 100% polyester and the commercially available garment.