- Open Access
Thermo-physiological properties of polyester–cotton plated fabrics in relation to fibre linear density and yarn type
© Jhanji et al. 2015
- Received: 4 March 2015
- Accepted: 5 August 2015
- Published: 23 September 2015
Thermo-physiological properties of textiles are crucial in determining the heat and moisture transport from skin to environment and in the assessment of overall wearer comfort. Engineering fabrics with desirable thermo-physiological properties suited for specific applications such as active wear, intimate wear is a big challenge for textile manufacturers as gamut of fibre, yarn and fabric parameters are known to influence the thermo-physiological properties. The present study was undertaken with an aim to explore suitable combination of fibre and yarn variables for engineering polyester–cotton plated fabrics with good thermo-physiological properties. Categorical variables i.e. outer layer yarn type and inner layer fibre linear density were found to affect the thermal, moisture vapour and liquid moisture transfer properties of developed test samples. Fabrics knitted with carded yarn and polyester fibre of high linear density showed high thermal resistance and would feel warmer on initial skin contact owing to low thermal absorptivity. However, the air permeability and moisture vapour transmission rate increased with combination of combed cotton yarn in the outer and coarse polyester fibre in the inner layer. Combed yarn fabrics were superior in trans planar wicking compared to carded yarn fabrics which showed higher water absorbency and would be slow drying fabrics.
- Carded yarn
- Combed yarn
- Plated fabric structures
- Thermo-physiological properties
- Yarn linear density
- Yarn types
Thermo-physiological properties of textiles greatly determine the transport of heat, moisture vapour and liquid moisture from skin to environment through clothing and are therefore, crucial to provide comfortable microclimate to the wearer. Clothing layer worn next to skin should have two important properties: the initial and the foremost property is to absorb the perspiration from the skin surface and second property is to transfer moisture to atmosphere and make the wearer feel comfortable. Diffusion and wicking are the two means by which moisture gets transferred to the atmosphere. Concentration gradient is the driving force which causes moisture diffusion from region of high concentration to low concentration. Wicking involves the motion of liquid moisture in void spaces between fibres in a yarn (Patil et al. 2009) and is significantly affected by the liquid retention in the voids. The thermal properties along with air permeability and drying ability of textiles are equally important in determining the overall wearer comfort. Thermal resistance and thermal absorptivity—objective measure of warm–cool feeling on fabric’s brief initial skin contact determines the application area of fabrics. Fabrics with high thermal insulation and providing warmer feeling are preferred choice as winter wear. However, lower thermal insulation, cooler feeling on initial skin contact, higher air permeability and quick drying ability are the desirable properties for fabrics intended as summer wear.
Thermo-physiological properties of textiles are influenced by several fibre, yarn and fabric parameters. Thermal resistance of textile materials is not determined solely by thermal conductivity of the fibre but depends largely on fabric thickness. Other factors that have an influence are the packing density of fabric structure and fibre fineness (Holcombe and Hoschke 1983). Bulk properties of fabrics particularly thickness and porosity influence the air permeability and drying ability of textiles. Sweat transmission and absorption properties of clothing are affected by fibre properties, yarn and fabric structural parameters, chemical processing and clothing design properties (Oner et al. 2013). Many parameters such as fibre type, composition, number of fibres in yarn cross-section and fibre configuration in yarn determine the wicking performance of spun and filament yarns (Das et al. 2007a, b). Governing factor for liquid transfer properties are thickness and free surface energy as well as size and shape of fibres (Cimilli et al. 2010). Absorption of water by fibres depends on total amount of water that can be absorbed regardless of time and the speed of water uptake. Yarn characteristics such as structure, linear density and twist have considerable effect on the wicking rate of water. Wicking of liquids in yarns mainly take place through capillary spaces formed by fibres (Nyoni and Brook 2006). Capillary sizes during liquid rise can be affected by non-rigid yarn structure which results in lateral stresses due to capillary flow (Ansari and Kish 2000). Increase in yarn roughness due to random arrangement of its fibres also affects water transport properties of fabrics by the way it influences the continuity of capillaries and effective advancing contact angle of water on yarn (Kissa 1996).
Plated knit structures are characterized by distinct yet integrated inner and outer layers which enables the structure to move liquid moisture from wearer’s skin through inner layer (next to skin) by capillary action to outer (exposed to environment) layer and helps to create substantial moisture concentration gradient between the two fabric layers. Thus, plated fabrics can be designed by selection of distinct fibre and yarn components in the two layers to ensure that inner layer serves as diffusing layer and the outer layer as absorptive layer, absorbing the moisture transferred from the inner layer.
Several researchers have attempted to study the effect of fibre and yarn parameters on comfort characteristics of woven and knitted fabrics. Varshney et al. (2010) studied the effect of fibre linear density on physiological properties of polyester woven fabrics and observed an increase in thermal resistance, trans planar wicking, air and water vapour permeability with fibre decitex. However they observed that thermal conductivity, thermal absorptivity and spreading speed of water drop decreased with increase in fibre coarseness. Das et al. (2008) reported reduction in air and water vapour permeability through the fabrics but increased wicking properties with the decrease in fibre diameter in their studies on micro-denier and normal denier filament fabrics. Ramakrishnan et al. (2009) compared the comfort properties of micro denier and normal denier viscose yarn knitted fabrics and observed better water absorbency and wicking for micro denier yarn knitted fabrics. Raj and Sreenivasan (2009) reported that the cotton fibre fineness had negative correlation with air permeability of fabrics woven from yarns having the same count and twist and suggested this outcome of reduced air spaces in the fabrics made from finer fibres. Oglakcioglu and Marmarali (2010) studied the effect of yarn type on thermal comfort properties of cotton knitted fabrics and observed that fabrics knitted with double plied yarn had higher thermal conductivity, thermal absorptivity and thermal resistance compared to single plied yarn fabrics. Singh and Nigam (2013) compared carded, combed and compact spun yarn woven fabrics for their comfort performance and reported that compact weft yarn fabrics showed high water vapour permeability while carded yarn fabrics showed higher thermal insulation. Ozdil et al. (2007) studied the thermal comfort properties of carded and combed yarn rib knitted fabrics and observed an increase in thermal conductivity and water vapour permeability of fabrics knitted with combed yarns. Nasrin and Nahida (2011) reported that combed yarns were stronger, less hairy and more uniform than carded yarns. Erdumlu and Saricam (2013) studied the wicking and drying properties of vortex spun yarns and knitted fabrics in comparison with ring-spun yarns and fabrics. They observed that vortex spun yarn had lower yarn and fabric wicking values and water absorbency rate than ring-spun yarns. Tyagi et al. (2009) studied the influence of yarn type on thermal comfort properties of woven fabrics and concluded that Murata Jet Spinning (MJS) yarn fabrics showed higher absorbency, air and water vapour permeability but lower wick ability compared to ring yarn fabrics. The review of published literature suggests that researches are mainly focused on studying the effect of fibre and yarn parameters on comfort properties of woven and knitted fabrics. However, studies on the thermo-physiological properties of plated knits are very limited although the structures are fast becoming preferred choice as intimate wear owing to flexibility in engineering fabrics with different fibre and yarn combinations in the two distinct layers. Moreover, none of the reported studies suggest the desirable fibre and yarn combination in the two layers to engineer fabrics suited for particular environmental conditions. The present study was, therefore undertaken to explore the field further and to determine the effect of inner layer fibre linear density and the outer layer yarn type on thermo-physiological properties of plated knits.
Fibre specifications and process parameters
Upper half mean length—29.2 mm
Mean length—24.3 mm, Micronaire—4.32
Staple length—44 mm
Fibre decitex—1.1, 1.3, 1.5, 2.2 and 3.3
Turns per inch
Yarn count (Ne)
Spindle speed (rpm)
Details of plated knitted fabrics
PET fibre linear density (decitex)
Thermal resistance (TR), thermal conductivity (TC) and thermal absorptivity (TA) of the fabric samples were evaluated on Alambeta (Sensora, Czech Republic). The instrument consists of a hot and cold plate, between which the fabric was positioned. Hot plate contacts fabric at a pressure of 200 Pa. When the temperature of hot plate reaches the preset value, the thin film heat flux sensor senses the heat flow from hot plate to cold plate. Heat flux sensors detect the amount of heat flow from hot surface to cold surface through fabric. The heat flow value and thickness are used to calculate fabric conductivity and finally the thermal resistance.
Air permeability (AP) of the fabrics was measured on FX 3300 air permeability tester (TEXTEST AG, Switzerland) at a pressure of 98 Pa according to ASTM D737. A prescribed air pressure differential between the two surfaces of fabric is obtained by adjusting the rate of air flow that passes perpendicular through known fabric area. The main components of the air permeability tester are: test head for positioning the test sample, clamping system for securing the test specimen to the test head without any distortion, air pump to draw a steady flow of air perpendicularly through the test fabric and pressure gauge or manometer connected to the test head below the test sample to measure pressure drop across test sample in Pascals.
Moisture vapour transmission rate (MVTR)
Water absorbency and trans planar wicking of test samples was determined by Gravimetric Absorbency Tester (GATS). A circular specimen of area equal to the porous plate, was cut with the help of a die and weighed. The sample was then placed above the porous plate for the measurements. GATS include a fluid reservoir and a plastic tube linked to the sample platform. The fluid cell was filled with water, the die cut sample weighed and positioned on the specimen platform, which was connected to the fluid reservoir by flexible tubing The tests were conducted under a hydrostatic pressure head of zero (ΔP = 0). High speed data acquisition system is interfaced with the instrument. Labview software records the display and evaluates the outputs from the GATS. Imbibition of liquid water by the test specimen marks the beginning of the test. The fluid reservoir set on the electronic balance becomes lighter as fluid flows into fabric due to liquid absorption as the test progresses.
Uster yarn hairiness
Cotton ring carded
Cotton ring combed
Polyester ring carded (1.1 decitex)
Polyester ring carded (1.3 decitex)
Polyester ring carded (1.5 decitex)
Polyester ring carded circular (2.2 decitex)
Polyester ring carded (3.3 decitex)
Physical properties of plated fabrics with varying fibre linear density and yarn type
Aerial density (g/m2)
Bulk density (kg/m3)
Thermal properties of plated fabrics with varying fibre linear density and yarn type
Thermal absorptivity b (W s1/2 m−2 K−1)
Thermal resistance R
(×10−3 K m2 W−1)
Thermal conductivity λ
(×10−3 W K−1 m−1)
Air permeability and moisture vapour transmission rate of plated fabrics with varying fibre linear density and yarn type
Air permeability (cm3/cm2/s)
Moisture vapour transmission rate (g/m2/24 h)
Water uptake in Trans planar wicking
Water uptake in trans planar wicking (g)
Incorporation of coarser polyester fibres in the inner layers of plated fabrics resulted in improved thermal resistance for both carded (RC1.1–RC3.3) and combed yarn fabrics (RM1.1–RM3.3) (Fig. 2). This may be attributed to the increase in fabric thickness and porosity (Table 4) with the increase in fibre linear density. High coefficient of determination (0.90) and (0.96) for carded and combed yarn fabrics respectively suggested positive linear relationship between fibre linear density and thermal resistance. The findings indicate that fibre and yarn combination that would result in high thermal resistance of plated fabrics are polyester fibre of high linear density and carded ring yarns compared to combination of polyester fibre of lower linear density and combed yarns.
An increase in polyester fibre linear density from 1.1dtex to 3.3 dtex resulted in corresponding increase in air permeability of carded (RC1.1 < RC1.3 < RC1.5 < RC2.2 < RC3.3) and combed yarn fabrics (RM1.1 < RM1.3 < RM1.5 < RM2.2 < RM3.3) (Fig. 3). The increase in air permeability with fibre linear density can be attributed to increasing yarn diameter with increase in fibre linear density. This in turn results in reduced specific surface area. Lower the specific surface area, lesser the drag resistance to passage of air through fabric and hence the observed increase in air permeability with the increase in fibre linear density. High porosity of plated fabrics knitted with fibres of higher linear density may also account for the increased air permeability. Other researchers (Raj and Sreenivasan 2009; Varshney et al. 2010) have also reported similar results in their studies.
Moisture vapour transmission rate
Table 6 shows that moisture vapour transmission rate of carded and combed yarn fabrics decreased with decrease in the fibre linear density. Positive correlation was observed between fibre linear density and moisture vapour transmission rate as indicated by high values of coefficient of determination (Fig. 4). As the polyester fibre become finer, yarn diameter reduces with corresponding increase in specific surface area (Table 3). Higher specific surface area offers more resistance to transmission of moisture vapour and hence the observed decrease in moisture vapour transmission rate with increase in fibre fineness.
Trans planar wicking
Moreover, hairy structure of carded yarn may disrupt the continuity of capillaries; combed yarn on the other hand seems to be forming more continuous capillaries owing to more uniform and less hairy structure. High trans planar wicking of combed yarn fabrics can therefore be explained well in the light of above arguments.
Figures 5b, c and 6 shows the effect of polyester fibre linear density on trans planar wicking of carded (RC1.1–RC 3.3) and combed yarn fabrics (RM1.1–RM3.3). It was observed that trans planar wicking decreased with the decrease in polyester fibre linear density. As the fibre linear density decreases, number of fibres in the yarn cross-section increases resulting in large number of capillaries of small diameter (Das et al. 2008). Creation of smaller capillaries may create sufficient drag slowing the liquid movement (Varshney et al. 2010) and hence lower trans planar wicking of fabrics (RM 1.1 and RC1.1) knitted with finer fibres.
The effect of fibre linear density on water absorbency of test fabrics is presented in Fig. 7. Water absorbency was observed to increase with the increase in polyester fibre linear density for both carded (RC3.3 > RC2.2 > RC1.5 > RC1.3 > RC1.1) and combed yarn fabrics (RM3.3 > RM2.2 > RM1.5 > RM1.3 > RM1.1). Increase in water absorbency with fibre linear density may be attributed to corresponding increase in fabric thickness and fabric porosity (Table 4). For the same yarn fineness, as the fibre fineness decreases, the number of fibres in yarn cross-section decreases, which may result in increased yarn bulkiness and availability of high pore volume in yarn structure. Large pores or a high total pore volume assists in higher liquid volume retention, as suggested by Varshney et al. (2010). An increase in water absorbency of fabrics with increase in fibre linear density is therefore well justified in the light of above arguments. Combination of polyester fibre of higher decitex and carded yarn is seen to result in fabrics of higher water absorbency.
Plated knit structures are characterized by distinct yet integrated inner and outer layers. Selection of contrastingly different fibre and yarn components in distinct inner and outer layers is possible which ensure dry skin microclimate and maximum wearer comfort. The present study was undertaken with an aim to explore suitable combination of fibre and yarn variables for engineering polyester–cotton plated fabrics with good thermo-physiological properties. Categorical variables i.e. outer layer yarn type and inner layer fibre linear density were found to affect the thermal, moisture vapour and liquid moisture transfer properties of developed test samples.
Plated fabrics knitted with carded yarn and polyester fibre of high linear density showed higher thermal resistance and would feel warmer on initial skin contact owing to low thermal absorptivity. However, the air permeability and moisture vapour transmission rate increased with combination of combed cotton yarn in the outer and coarse polyester fibre in the inner layer.
Combed yarn fabrics were superior in trans planar wicking compared to carded yarn counterparts. Water absorbency of fabrics with carded cotton yarn and coarse polyester fibre yarn was higher due to increased fabric thickness and porosity.
It can therefore, be concluded that plated fabrics with combination of carded yarn in the outer layer and coarse polyester fibre in the inner layer may be suitable for cold and dry conditions owing to high thermal resistance, warm feel next to skin and high water absorbency.
Plated fabrics incorporating combed yarn and coarse polyester fibre seem suitable choice in warm and humid conditions based on their superior air permeability, better moisture vapour and liquid moisture transmission properties.
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