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B?nnigheim - Researchers at the Hohenstein Institute have developed a new type of hybrid yarn for knitted textiles which is said to combine the benefits of synthetic fibres with those of wool.

Working in partnership with Zwickauer Kammgarn GmbH and Helmut Peterseim Strickwaren GmbH in M?hlhausen, the combination offered by HP2G is said to guarantee excellent thermal insulation, while sweat is transported away efficiently and the textile dries quickly and the yarn is not prone to pilling. Essentially, fashion garments made of the new hybrid yarn are easier to look after, do not suffer from felting and look as good as new even after being worn for a long time, the developers said.

Project leader Martin Harnisch from the Hohenstein Institute said he saw excellent potential for the newly developed yarn, especially for sportswear: ?Garments made from this yarn have very good sweat management properties and at the same time provide excellent thermal insulation,? he said. ?Being properly protected from the cold is really important, especially during rest periods after strenuous physical activity, when it has been found that the body loses a great deal of heat. Endurance athletes such as runners and cyclists will particularly benefit from this innovation because they will find that it helps prevent the unpleasant sensation of cooling down and shivering after exercise, what is called 'postexercise chill', which can be damaging to the health.?

Knitted textiles have the ability to trap a great deal of air, which, when the fibres are combined with wool, gives good thermal insulation and enables them to absorb a great deal of moisture. However, when the moisture content reaches about 33%, which is easily achieved during physical exertion, pure wool does not feel comfortable any more. The liquid perspiration cannot evaporate from the skin and is absorbed by the wool fibres. Very damp wool creates an unpleasantly wet, cold sensation on the skin.

This is where synthetic fibres can come in useful. The advantage of them is that the usually do not absorb water, or only very little. This means that they can wick the liquid sweat away from the skin.

The innovative hybrid yarn HP2G combines the positive characteristics of synthetic and natural fibres: it absorbs sweat quickly and transports it away from the body. That keeps the wearer as comfortable as possible, with their skin feeling dry. During light exercise or after a long period of strenuous physical exertion, it also offers the necessary thermal insulation, and so keeps the body temperature constant.

The industrial companies involved in the project have created a new and complex textile family based on the functional yarn, ranging from jackets and pullovers to functional accessories such as caps, hats, wrist-warmers and gauntlets. Thanks to these functions and properties, using the new yarn for the uniforms of care home staff or other high-performance professional clothing meets a requirement from these users which could previously not be satisfied. Functional clothing such as this, which is positioned between sportswear and classic fashionable knitwear, is not currently available on the market.

Production and processing technologies have also been adapted to suit the newly designed yarn and enable problem-free series production. Other potential new applications include furnishing covers or technical textiles used in vehicles. 

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