The Hohenstein Institute, Germany, has completed initial testing on a high-tech swimsuit prototype
developed by Sarah Ziem, a student at the University of Reutlingen, Germany. The swimsuit fabric is
an ultra-lightweight textile material coated with a nano-sol super-hydrophobic coating in which
microbubbles trapped between the fibers create an ultra-thin air cushion that allows the swimmer to
glide through the water. The institute reports the technology mimics the natural waterproofness of
the feathers of penguins, and substantially complies with strict regulations passed by the
International Swimming Federation in 2009 in response to concerns about an unusually large number
of records broken by swimmers wearing certain high-tech swimsuits in 2008-09 competitions.
Ziem developed the swimsuit as part of her bachelor’s degree dissertation under the
supervision of Dr. Walter Marx, Reutlingen. She also received support from Dr. Jan Beringer,
Hohenstein Institute; textile chemicals manufacturer CHT R. Beitlich GmbH, Germany; and performance
fabric manufacturer Mectex S.p.A., Italy.
The coating will be further refined prior to the swimsuit’s market debut.