Sportswear with nanofibres – protection against water, wind and a surprising breathability!

Dec 13, 2022

Nanofibers are not just in highly protective respiratory masks. They are fast gaining the prominence in clothing industry, namely for two reasons – the ability to create functional clothing that is breathable, and, at the same time, protects the wearer from the vagaries of the weather.


Imagine an asphalt road. On one side you see a recreational jogger, on the other a serious runner. These people have something in common - they need clothes that keep them warm and waterproof, while getting rid of the water vapour from sweating. What options are open to them?


They will most likely reach for a conventional fabric, which will protect them from water, but will not be breathable, so they will sweat uncomfortably and overheat because the material will not let the excess water vapour and moisture escape. Scientists have therefore immersed themselves in the development of a material that provides 100 % protection and comfort.


The first break was the so‑called impermeable film. Although it successfully blocked contaminants and refused to release toxins, it was unfortunately uncomfortably heavy and bulky. In addition, it did not let the accumulated moisture out, so the wearer was completely wet after a few minutes. A similar fate awaited the so‑calledimpermeable polymer foil, which, although it kept the user pleasantly warm in winter, was unbearably hot and humid in summer. The third attempt entailed amicroporous non‑woven membranethat was lightweight and relatively affordable.


In the end, the best solution turned out to be the implementation of nanofibers. Fibres and membranes produced by electrostatic spinning have shown great potential in the development of functional garments as they provide thermal comfort to the wearer, maintain the breathability of the material and wick away excess moisture.


The Nanospider technology is suited for the production of the most specific nanofiber materials, namely those that seamlessly let accumulated vapour through the garment and keep the wearer dry, warm and protected. Nanospider nanofibers made by the free‑surface wetting method excel in compactness and porosity without the risk of losing protective properties.


The process of enriching a fabric with nanofiber layer is in itself more than fascinating. A lightweight, porous nanofiber membrane is sandwiched between two layers of conventional fabric, and the whole "sandwich" is then laminated on an engraving roller. Amazingly, inserting a thin nanofiber in the middle between two layers of fabric hardly affects breathability and vapour permeability. At the same time, the water resistance of the resulting fabric is significantly improved.


In addition, stress tests have shown that the presence of a thin layer of nanofibers improves the thermal comfort of the garment compared to a conventional additive fabric. The compressed fabric is water and wind resistant, instantly wicks away moisture and has good thermal insulation so that it is protecting the body from the cold.




Sources Used:‑12-00492.pdf‑of-materials‑research/article/abs/waterproof‑and-breathable‑polyacrylonitrilepolyurethanefluorinatedsilica-composite‑nanofiber-membrane‑via-sidebyside‑electrospinning/0CA307ADD9FEF5D72BA5051B36D2D4C6

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