Breathability of fabric: the breathability of the fabric is a very important and desirable characteristic for those fabrics which are used to manufacture the garments. This characteristic is directly associated with comfort for the wearer of the clothing during routine outdoor activities. The breathability of fabric tells us how much water vapour can pass through the fabric. Thus we can say that the rate of water vapour transmission through a fabric or the rate of the amount of water vapour to be passed through the fabric is called the breathability of the fabric. It is measured in grams/metre²/day.
The factors influencing the breathability are given below:
Construction, yarn count and weight per square unit of the fabric: the count of yarn, the number of threads per square inch and weight per square meter of the fabric are associated with the breathability of fabric because all these fabric parameters directly influence the airspace present in the fabric. The influence of all these parameters can be understood by the following examples:
Example A: if the GSM and the number of threads per square inch of two fabrics are equal, then the count of the warp count and weft count play their role to affect the breathability of the fabrics. In this case, the fabric woven with finer count will show better breathability.
Example B: if the GSM, warp count and a weft count of two fabrics are identical, the fabric having a lower number of threads per square inch will show the better result of breathability.
Example C: If the warp count, weft count and the number of threads per square inch in two fabrics are similar to each other, then the fabric having higher GSM will give poor breathability. In this case, the weave of the fabric also plays important role in the breathability.
Type of material used in the fabric: the type of material greatly influences the breathability of the fabric. The synthetic material poses poor breathability of the fabric. The spun yarn has better breathability than continuous filament yarn. The micro fibres pose better breathability than ordinary fibres. The fine and long staple fibres show better breathability than coarse and short staple fibres.
Weave: if the GSM, warp count, weft count and the number of threads per square inch of two fabric are identical, then the fabric weave plays a decisive role in the breathability of the fabric. The plain weave poses poor breathability than twill and satin because plain weave has the lowest float length. This short float length helps to reduce the airspace present in the fabric. Here we can say that the fabric having lower airspace always poses poor breathability.
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