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Wools best the most comfortable of fabrics


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Wools best the most comfortable of fabrics

  1. 1. CRC FOR SHEEP INDUSTRY INNOVATIONNEWS RELEASE Monday, 7 November 2011Wool’s best the most comfortable of fabricsThe results are in and wool is the winner – objective testing has shown that ultrafine wool garments can outperform 100per cent cashmere and high quality cotton for comfort and softness.The Cooperative Research Centre for Sheep Industry Innovation (Sheep CRC) commissioned the manufacture ofselect ultrafine wool fabrics to provide a set of benchmarks for the measurement of next to skin comfort and handle.The Sheep CRC is a collaboration of industry, government and the commercial sector, which is working to increaseproductivity and profitability of the industry through new technologies for adoption by both the meat and wool supplychains.“It is the first time that ultrafine wool knitwear has been shown, using objective testing, to be superior to other naturalfibres in terms of functional qualities valued by consumers,” Sheep CRC chief executive officer Professor James Rowesaid.“Wools in the ultrafine micron category, used for the manufacture of these test garments, represent about two per centof the Australian wool clip and therefore constitute a very rare and valuable fibre resource.”To establish a performance benchmark for wool garments, the Sheep CRC provided wool buyers with fleecespecifications for the purchase of four bales of ultrafine wool (14-15.7 micron) through normal market channels.After purchase the bales were identified as CRC 1 to 4 and sent to Italy for processing through to fabric.CRC 1 and CRC 3 were high crimp wools and CRC 2 and CRC 4 were bold low crimp wools, and each bale wasprocessed separately and their fabric subsequently converted into garments.David Tester, Leader of Sheep CRC Program 2 (next generation wool quality), said these wools were selected forprocessing because lightweight knitted fabrics of finer diameter than 16.5 micron were not readily available.“The decision was therefore made to manufacture these ultrafine wool fabrics for testing using the CRC wearer trialprotocol, and to help calibrate the CRC’s new measurement equipment over a wider micron range,” Mr Tester said.“In the wearer trial 25 people wore each garment through a range of temperature conditions and a short exerciseprogram.”The fabrics were also tested using the CRC’s Wool Comfort Meter and the Wool Handle Meter, which were developedby the Sheep CRC to provide cost-effective ways to measure and guarantee next-to-skin comfort for the consumer.These world-leading fabric measurements systems were developed by the Sheep CRC with the support of AustralianWool Innovation (AWI), and in conjunction with research partners at the CSIRO, the Australian Wool Testing Authority(AWTA), Deakin University, the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) and Curtin University.The new systems offer the first simple, objective measurement of garment comfort levels for lightweight knitted fabric –traditional indirect measurements, such as fibre diameter, have been shown to be inaccurate.The CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation is co-funded under the Commonwealth Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program Transforming wool, meat and the sheep that produce them
  2. 2. “Using all of the measurement systems, the four garments have emerged as being in a class of their own – acombination of more comfortable and with better handle characteristics than any other fabrics used in the Sheep CRCwearer trials,” Mr Tester said.“Comparisons in the wearer trials were not confined to wool knitwear and included high quality cashmere and top of therange cotton fabrics.”Notably for the wool and textile industries, the results also showed that there was no significant effect that could beattributed to wool crimp at these fine diameters, Mr Tester said.“The results suggest that we have reached the highest levels of next to skin comfort that can be measured bothsubjectively and objectively,” he said.Test resultsThe following table shows the average fibre diameter, the results from the Wool ComfortMeter (WCM), the results fromthe Wearer Trial and the predictions of Softness and Smoothness by the Wool HandleMeter for a range of fabricsincluding the fabrics made from the ultrafine wools.Garments Diameter WCM Wearer Softness Smoothness Total micron index Trial Index Index Comfort indexCRC 1 14.0 96 95 71 70 332CRC 2 14.1 95 95 72 73 335CRC 3 15.3 92 95 68 64 319CRC 4 15.7 91 90 74 75 330Average Ultrafine 14.8 94 94 71 71 330100% cashmere 15.9 93 87 64 64 308100% cotton 12.8 98 92 50 56 296Retail garment 20.0 52 70 62 64 248Note: The index values range from 0 to 100. The higher the value, the greater the comfort, softness and smoothnesssensations.  More information on the Sheep CRC’s wool research program is available at contact: Sheep CRC Program 2 Leader David Tester, 0434 600 164.After the tests the Sheep CRC contacted the wool producers who sold the bales used in the manufacture of the fabricsto inform them of the results. These producers are available for media interviews.Wool Producer Contacts:Philip AttardGostwyck GroupUralla, NSW 2358(02) 6778 4104 or 0417 408 637The CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation is co-funded under the Commonwealth Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program Transforming wool, meat and the sheep that produce them
  3. 3. Katrina & Rob Blomfield“Karori"Walcha NSW 2354Phone: 0467 779 189 or 0409 779 189James & Caroline Street“Blaxland”Walcha, NSW, 2354Phone 02 6778 7348EndsThe CRC for Sheep Industry Innovation is co-funded under the Commonwealth Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program Transforming wool, meat and the sheep that produce them