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New laboratory methods have been developed for the evaluation of the waterproofness and water vapor permeability of breathable rainwear. The waterproofness was measured using a dynamic shower tester than combines mechanical action and wicking effects, thus closely simulating actual wear conditions. It is shown that some microporous fabrics that have a high water entry pressure allow leakage when they are periodically compressed. Multiple-layer assemblies of water-repellent fabrics were also evaluated. The water vapor transmission of breathable fabrics in rain was determined using a heated cup method in combination with an artificial rain installation. The results indicate that vapor transport characteristics of fabrics are subject to change depending on the weather.
The new methods provide a means for selecting fabrics for high-performance rainwear.
protective clothing, water-reppellent fabrics, breathable fabrics, testing, multiple-layer fabrics
Physicist, Fibre Research Institute TNO, Delft,