Tests to study the comfort of clothes for cyclists

Last week a series of tests were carried out in terraXcube’s Large Cube to study the thermal comfort of a particular fabric used in the manufacturing of clothes for cyclists. Thermal comfort is a key parameter for technical fabrics and one which can also impact athletic performance. The tests were carried out on behalf of Q36.5, a South Tyrolean brand for hi-tech cycling clothing. Prior to the tests, the Eurac Research Center for Sensing Solutions developed an integrated sensor system to evaluate the comfort levels. The company has applied for a Lab Bonus, the co-financing tool for research-company collaboration provided by NOI Techpark.

The system incorporated approximately ten sensors to monitor specific parameters such as humidity and temperature difference. “These are the two parameters to be taken into account for this type of test. In fact, the comfort of the athlete depends on how much sweat is able to evaporate from the fabric – this keeps the athlete’s body at a comfortable temperature,” explains Andrea Vilardi, member of terraXcube and Test Manager.

The cycling clothing developed by Q36.5 and equipped with the Eurac Research sensor system was worn by an athlete riding a bike roller. A fan simulated the conditions of cycling uphill, downhill and on the flat, while the chamber reproduced three different climate conditions: harsh – around O°C, cold – around 10°C and spring-like conditions of 20°C.

The tests inside terraXcube were undertaken following initial experiments in the laboratory. “It is extremely important to perform these tests in a controlled environment, such as terraXcube, which at the same time can perfectly reproduce any specified external environmental conditions. Today’s tests provide an opportunity to observe how the cycling fabrics react in real conditions without all the disadvantages of the external environment which could alter the measurements and affect the reliability of the data” concludes Andrea Vilardi.

Images: © Eurac Research / Christian Steurer