Video: Keeping Cool While Working Up a Sweat

Credit: Siyuan Xing/UC Davis

Could this be the end of sticky gym clothes? Scientists have developed a fabric that wicks perspiration away from the skin and transports it to the other side of the clothing. The trick, as reported this month in Lab on a Chip, is hydrophilic, or water-loving, threads stitched into a hydrophobic, or water-hating, cotton mesh. As can be seen in the video, a small section of the material takes the blue droplets (a stand-in for sweat) into the narrow threads, and the sweat emerges at the bottom of the textile as a large drop. In the real world, the sweat would collect on the outside of the clothing and then evaporate. Even heavy perspiration is no problem: The extra sweat just drips to the floor. The researchers say that the fabric will allow much more evaporation from sweaty bodies, and thus help us stay cooler at the gym. The technology, they add, could also be used to minimize diaper rash and as a wound dressing for patients with excessive sweating.

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