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Knitting / Apparel

Hydroweave Protection

BodyTeq Apparel offers garments made with Hydroweave fabric to keep wearers cool and comfortable.

TW Special Report

BodyTeq Apparel garments made with Hydroweave fabric include food service apparel, among others.

B odyTeq Apparel Inc., Chicago, produces an advanced line of personal cooling garments and accessories that help maintain the wearer's core body temperature and provide extraordinary protection against the harmful effects of heat stress and fatigue at work, and during recreation and competitive sports.

What Is Hydroweave?

BodyTeq utilizes Decatur, Ala.-based Aquatex Industries Inc.'s Hydroweave, a line of unique, lightweight, high-performance fabrics that eliminate the trade-off between protection and the wearer's comfort, safety and productivity. BodyTeq has been working with Hydroweave technology for the last three years.

Unlike other fabrics that perform well in a specific environment, this range of fabrics - which may, depending on customer specifications, include cotton, cotton/polyester blends, nylon and fire-retardant materials, among others - actually enhances the performance of the wearer. Hydroweave effectively and consistently provides protection against heat stress and fatigue, delivering long-lasting cooling effects through evaporation, and keeping the wearer dry. It is well suited for a variety of garment and accessory applications, either as an integral part of a garment or as a specific component of a protective outfit. Garment applications include:food service industry; industrial/construction trades; first responders; military; and competitive, action and power sports, including activities such as cycling, baseball, golf, football and motorcycling, among others.

Bodyteq products are available with flame-resistant (FR) material for specialty applications. FR applications include:military uses; firefighting gear; metal and foundry worker protective apparel; race car driver and pit crew protective apparel; and chemical and manufacturing environment protective apparel.

How It Works

"What makes Hydroweave such a unique product is that it performs unlike any other competing product on the market," said Dale Lichtenstein, president, BodyTeq. "It provides a one-two punch against heat stress and fatigue by continually pulling away body heat and perspiration with a material that is highly evaporative. The result is that the wearer is kept cool, safe and comfortable, but more importantly, his or her core body temperature remains constant."

Hydroweave's patented three-layer design combines hydrophilic fibers and hydrophobic fibers into a batting core.

This batting is sandwiched between a breathable outer shell fabric and a thermally conductive inner lining, which provides durability, separates the wearer from moisture and acts as the critical conduit for exchanging user heat with cooling comfort.

The breathable outer shell can be made from a variety of fabrics and colors to address a wide range of applications. Shell fabrics often include polyester/cotton blends, man-mades and man-made blends, and Indura or Nomex® blends used for flame-resistant applications.

The inner lining is a thermally conductive, microporous membrane usually made of nylon taffeta, which eliminates the need for a substrate and provides a durable, cost-effective finish in applications in which dampness is not a concern. This special material allows perspiration to escape while conducting a cooling sensation to the body.

The batting contains super-absorbent polymer fibers blended using a patented technique. The special water-retaining fibers in the batting change, respond quickly and deliver a slow, controlled release of moisture, enabling hours of comfort.

BodyTeq Apparel manufactures removable Hydroweave linings (right) for baseball caps.

Personal Comfort

Heat stress occurs when the body becomes overheated. The body uses blood circulation to move heat from its core to the skin, where it can transfer to the outside environment. Soaking the garment in water for five minutes activates the cooling process, charging the hydrophilic fibers. The hydrophobic fill evenly distributes and surrounds the saturated fibers with air, creating an ideal environment for evaporation. When moisture in the batting evaporates, heat is removed, cooling the surrounding area, while the conductive lining draws heat away from the wearer.

Lichtenstein likens this cooling sensation to jumping into a swimming pool. The body reacts to the sudden change in temperature, but then acclimates to that temperature. Although the cooling sensation may seem to level off because the body has adjusted to the cooler temperature, it is still working to maintain that temperature.

Water temperature in the Hydroweave material has little effect on its cooling capacity. Even when the water absorbed by the garment becomes warmer because heat is conducted from the wearer's body, evaporative cooling is provided at nearly undiminished levels, according to BodyTeq. Because of the even distribution of water-absorbent fiber throughout Hydroweave's batting, cooling is delivered throughout the garment and can continue for up to eight hours, depending upon degree of garment contact, environmental conditions, physical activity of the wearer, and the type of outer clothing worn.

As moisture in the batting of Hydroweave fabric evaporates, heat is removed, cooling the surrounding area, while the conductive lining draws heat away from the wearer.

Expected Performance

Because BodyTeq products use evaporative cooling technology, the power of the cooling effect and the amount of time the garment stays active are determined by environmental conditions. The combination of air temperature, airflow and relative humidity will determine the effectiveness of evaporative cooling.  The hotter the temperature inside or out and the drier the air, the greater the evaporative cooling effect will be. In general, in areas with relatively high humidity, the garment can stay active for up to eight hours. In areas with low relative humidity, the amount of time the garment remains active will vary from two to six hours.

May 2005