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Proposed New ASTM Textiles Standard to Test Thermal Effusivity of Materials


Thermal effusivity is a measure of how a material exchanges heat with another material with which it is in contact. Measuring the thermal effusivity of textiles will reveal the rate at which a fabric absorbs heat when it first comes in contact with skin. A proposed new ASTM International standard, ASTM WK43374, Test Method for Measurement of Thermal Effusivity of Fabrics Using a Guarded Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) Instrument, will be useful in measuring the thermal properties of textiles.

ASTM member Shannon Yawney, a research analyst in product innovation at Mark’s, notes that when a textile is tested to the proposed method, a low thermal effusivity rate will indicate that a fabric is slow to absorb heat. To relate that to apparel, a fabric with a low thermal effusivity would feel warmer to the initial touch and would be slower to transfer heat away from the body, keeping you warmer.

“For summer apparel, in which someone wants to stay cool, a higher thermal effusivity is desirable,” says Yawney. “With a high thermal effusivity, a fabric quickly draws heat away from the skin on initial contact.”

Yawney says that, while the proposed standard is intended for apparel fabrics, it has the potential to be used for other household textiles, such as bedsheets, since manufacturers are concerned with individuals maintaining thermal comfort while sleeping. In addition, there is also potential use for the standard in other areas, such as the upholstery and automobile industries, in which the thermal effusivity of a material is of interest.

According to Yawney, the proposed standard will become a benchmark scale test method for textile mills to compare and develop new technologies for managing heat. In addition, apparel product developers will find ASTM WK43374 useful for selecting fabrics by providing an objective way to evaluate how a fabric manages heat from the body.

ASTM WK43374 is being developed by Subcommittee D13.51 on Conditioning, Chemical and Thermal Properties, part of ASTM Committee D13 on Textiles. All interested parties are invited to participate in the ongoing development of ASTM WK43374. D13.51 will be looking for laboratories to participate in an interlaboratory study for the proposed standard.

ASTM International welcomes participation in the development of its standards. For more information on becoming an ASTM member, visit

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ASTM Committee D13 Next Meeting: Jan. 25-28, 2015, January Committee Week, New Orleans, La.
Technical Contact: Shannon Yawney, Mark’s, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Phone: 403-692-7045;
ASTM Staff Contact: Jennifer Rodgers, Phone: 610-832-9694;
ASTM PR Contact: Barbara Schindler, Phone: 610-832-9603;

Release #9679

September 25, 2014

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