Scientists at research and testing body the Hohenstein Institute have developed a textile finished that provides a “sensory cooling effect”.
The organisation says this term is used to describe a chemically induced sensation of coolness on the skin, which results from the triggering of cold receptors in the never ends close to the skin’s surface. It can be useful when treated sports injuries or insect bites, which are typically treated with ice, sprays and water-retaining treatments.
The scientists developed the cooling textile made from high-tech fibres as an alternative because traditional cooling systems sometimes cool the skin too much, which can lead to symptoms of frost-bite or damage the skin in the most extreme cases.
The Hohenstein institute says that cold-inducing substances that result in “sensory cooling” have a milder cooling effect, even when applied over a large area. The substances its research team used have a lasting cooling effect when spread in very low concentrations on small area of the body.
The textile finish was tested on a variety of textile substrates from natural or synthetic fibres and blends. It tested the textiles on volunteers and found that the sensory perception of cold depended not only on the area of skin being treated but also on a range of other parameters such as the moisture level in the skin and the topography of the skin surface. This helped the researchers to make new finding about the substance sensitivity of specific areas of the skin (e.g. the cleavage, underarm, soles of the feet).
The project found that sensory cooling textiles are effective in textiles worn close to the skin, but are not suitable for loose clothing that does not come in direct contact with the body.
The scientists at the Hohenstein Institute have been able to prove that it would be feasible for small and medium-sized enterprises to apply a sensory cooling finish to their products.
Image courtesy of the Hohenstein Institute.