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Rights: The University of Waikato
Published 31 May 2010
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Wool is naturally comfortable to wear because it is absorbent and breathable – properties generated by the unique structure of the fibre. Natural Easy Care fabrics have many other advantages including good drape, natural stretch and being made shrink resistant without using chemicals.

Questions to consider:

  • How do absorbency and breathability make a fabric more comfortable to wear?
  • Considering all the advantages of NEC fabrics, what factors may have influenced researchers to develop these fabrics?

Acknowledgement:
The Science Learning Hub

Dr Surinder Tandon (AgResearch)
Natural Easy Care fabrics are machine washable and tumble dryable, but these wool fabrics are made shrink resistant without any chemical treatments. The wool fabrics have been made easy care, the use of chemical shrinkproofing of wool, using chlorine and razines. So we achieved natural easy care performance without the use of any chemicals.

Because of the yarn structure, the fabric construction and finishing, these fabrics offer lively drape, and when the person is walking, the garments swings.

And of course, these fabrics breathe very well. And breathability – it means the moisture vapour from the sweat from the skin side flows into the outside environment very efficiently, because the wool fabric is porous and the wool fibre can absorb 33% moisture before its surface gets wet. So it offers a very good transport mechanism for air, moisture, heat from inside to the outside. It means that you don't feel clammy inside the garment. It feels dry and cool or warm.

The fabric has very high natural stretch, because of the yarn structure, it’s got high twist, and secondly, in fabric finishing, we set the fabric so that the fabric relaxes very well in both length and width direction, so we get more yarn crimp, and so without using any Lycra, we can get very high stretch in the fabric.