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Journal of Thermal Analysis and


Calorimetry
An International Forum for Thermal
Studies

ISSN 1388-6150

J Therm Anal Calorim
DOI 10.1007/s10973-011-2166-5
A study of the thermal properties of
bamboo knitted fabrics
Chidambaram Prakash, Govindan
Ramakrishnan & Chandramouli
Venkataraman Koushik
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A study of the thermal properties of bamboo knitted fabrics
Chidambaram Prakash

Govindan Ramakrishnan

Chandramouli Venkataraman Koushik
Received: 12 October 2011 / Accepted: 15 December 2011
Akademiai Kiado, Budapest, Hungary 2012
Abstract In this research, the thermal properties of
bamboo single jersey knitted fabrics have been studied in
relation to stitch length and yarn linear density in tex. The
objective was to determine the inuence of fabric factors
like stitch length and the constituent yarn linear density on
fabric properties, such as air permeability, thermal con-
ductivity, thermal resistance and relative water vapour
permeability. Yarns with linear densities of 19.6, 23.6, 29.5
tex and with the same twist level were used to construct the
fabrics of single jersey structure with stitch lengths of 0.27,
0.29 and 0.31 cm. The anticipated increase in air perme-
ability and relative water vapour permeability with
decrease in yarn linear density and increase in stitch length
was observed. The thermal conductivity and thermal
resistance tended in general to increase with constituent
yarn linear density but decreased with increase in stitch
length.
Keywords Thermal properties Yarn count
Air permeability Water vapour permeability
Thermal conductivity Thermal resistance
Introduction
Comfort, which dened as states in which there are no
driving impulses to correct the environment by the
behaviour [1]. Clothing comfort is closely related to ther-
mal comfort [2, 3]. The body produces lots of heat energy
and the body temperature increases. To reduce the high
temperature, the body perspires a lot in liquid and vapour
form. Whilst this perspiration is transmitted to atmosphere,
the body temperature reduces and then the body feels cool.
So the garments should allow the perspiration to pass
through, otherwise it will result in discomfort.
Comfort plays a vital role in the selection of apparel. It
is considered as a fundamental property when a clothing
product is evaluated. The comfort provided by clothing
depends on several factors. One of them is thermal com-
fort; other factors include softness, exibility, moisture
diffusion, etc. Thermal comfort properties of textile fabrics
are actually inuenced by the gamut of bre, yarn and
fabric properties. Fibre type, spinning technology, yarn
linear density, yarn twist, yarn hairiness, fabric thickness,
fabric cover factor, fabric porosity and nish are major
factors that determine the comfort properties of fabrics [1].
Knitted fabrics are known to possess excellent comfort
properties. They not only allow for stretch and ease of
movement, but they also have good handle and facilitate
easy transmission of water vapour from the body. These
attributes make knitted fabrics the commonly preferred
choice for sportswear, casual wear and underwear. Knitted
structures offer several advantages. Physically, they present
properties of comfort, such as high stretch and elasticity,
snugness of t to body shape, soft and pleasing handle,
feeling of freshness and the like. Knitted fabrics have
therefore long been preferred as fabrics in many kinds of
clothing. Efforts are on to make knitted fabrics more
C. Prakash (&) C. V. Koushik
Department of Fashion Technology,
Sona College of Technology, Salem 636005, India
e-mail: dearcprakash@rediffmail.com
C. V. Koushik
e-mail: cvkoushik@yahoo.com
G. Ramakrishnan
TIFAC-CORE, Department of Fashion Technology,
Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore 641049, India
e-mail: g.ramki.15@gmail.com
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J Therm Anal Calorim
DOI 10.1007/s10973-011-2166-5
Author's personal copy
comfortable by incorporating different bres, altering yarn
parameters like twist, bulk, count and nishing treatments,
and knitting factors like stitch length, CPI, WPI and fabric
weight and adopting new or different nishes [4].
In todays context, the naturally renewable resources are
increasingly being sought after owing to mans commit-
ment to protect nature. Chemical processes are being
devised to produce new biodegradable materials. Such
materials can successfully replace or improve the existing
articial or natural materials. Bamboo bre is a regenerated
cellulose bre, of relatively recent origin, produced from
the bamboo plant. Bamboo is an important forest biomass
resource [5]. A bamboo textile product has a host of
incredible properties. It is breathable, cool and extremely
soft; it has a pleasant lustre; it rapidly absorbs water and is
antibacterial. Yarns of bamboo bre provide the desirable
properties of high absorbency, antimicrobial behaviour and
a soft feel in textiles and made ups [6]. It is also very
hygroscopic, absorbing more water than other conventional
bres, such as cotton and polyester. The most prominent
attribute of bamboo material is its remarkable ability to
breathe and its inherent coolness. The transverse section of
bamboo bre is predominantly lled with innumerable
microgaps and microholes, a characteristic that confers on
the bre-enhanced moisture absorption and ventilation.
Intimate clothing like sweaters and bathing suits, and
household textiles, such as blankets and towels are
increasingly being made from bamboo material. Bamboo-
bre clothing products display good water absorption and
are comfortable; they have a pleasing lustre and are bright
in colour [7].
Bogun et al. [8] analysed the thermal properties of
sodium alginate and calcium alginate bres containing
nanoadditives. When ceramic nanoadditives (MMT, SiO
2
and bioglass) are added to the material of calcium alginate
bres, the nature of the thermal processes is not affected.
Xu et al. [9] studied the characteristics of the regenerated
bres depended on the procedure and raw materials, that
clearly affected the material structure and, thereby prop-
erties. They found that thermal decomposition can facili-
tate to understand the relationship between the properties
and structures of new regenerated cellulosic bres.
Extensive research has been carried out to investigate the
thermal comfort behaviour of knitted fabrics [38]. Oglak-
cioglu et al. [10] analysed the thermal properties of cotton
and polyester basic knitted structures and found that each
knitted structure trends to show quite different thermal
comfort properties. Hu et al. [11] examined the effect mod-
ied organicinorganic hybrid materials on thermal prop-
erties of cotton fabrics. Both of the organic and inorganic
parts of the coating contributed to the increase of char layers
and a positive effect on the thermal stability for cotton fab-
rics. Ozdil et al. [12] conclude that whilst the thermal
resistance values decrease, water vapour permeability values
increase with yarn twist and yarn count. Gun et al. [13]
analysed the properties of fabrics made from 50/50 bamboo/
cotton yarns and compared them with those of fabrics made
from 50/50 viscose/cotton and 50/50 modal/cotton yarns.
The study compared the weight per unit area, thickness,
bursting strength, air permeability and pilling of the fabrics,
and it was found that fabric weight, thickness and air per-
meability was independent of bre type.
This research investigates the inuence of different
stitch lengths and different yarn linear densities in 100%
bamboo knitted fabric on the thermal comfort properties of
the single jersey fabrics. With this aim in mind, single
jersey structures were produced with yarns of three dif-
ferent linear densities to three different stitch lengths in the
fabric and their thermal comfort properties were evaluated
and analysed.
Materials and methods
Preparation of fabric samples
Single jersey fabric was produced from 100% bamboo
yarns of linear density 19.6, 23.6 and 29.5 tex possessing
the same twist coefcient (ae = 3.6). Table 1 lists the
properties of the bamboo bre used. The fabrics were
produced in a Meyer and Cie knitting machine of the fol-
lowing details: Single jersey machine, model MV4, gauge
24 GG, diameter 23
00
, speed 30 rpm, feeders 74 and num-
ber of needles 1728. The knitting-room atmosphere had a
humidity of 65% and a temperature of 30 2 C. Samples
were produced with three different stitch length values of
0.27, 0.29 and 0.31 cm. The knitting process was achieved
with constant machine settings and the samples were kept
in standard atmosphere for 24 h to allow for relaxation and
conditioning.
Evaluation of fabric properties
Structural properties like weight (mass per unit area) and
thickness were evaluated. Thermal comfort properties,
namely thermal conductivity, thermal resistance, water
vapour permeability and air permeability were also eval-
uated. The Alambeta instrument was used to measure
thermal conductivity, fabric thickness and thermal resis-
tance; water vapour permeability was measured on a
Table 1 Properties of the bamboo bre
Fibre length/mm 36
Fibre neness/dtex 1.52
Tenacity/cN tex
-1
19.87
C. Prakash et al.
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Author's personal copy
Permetest instrument working on the simulated skin prin-
ciple as recommended in ISO 11092; fabric air perme-
ability was measured according to the TS 391 EN ISO
9237 using Tester FX3300. All measurements were per-
formed under the standard atmospheric conditions.
Results and discussion
The fabric properties are given in Table 2.
Air permeability
The air permeability of the fabrics is depicted in Fig. 1. It
may be seen that the fabric composed of 19.6-tex yarn and
with 0.31-cm stitch length is the most permeable fabric of
all. The yarn neness in combination with the large loop
length results, as expected, in an open structure. The
obvious decrease in fabric thickness and weight may also
be clearly seen in Table 2.
The results show that fabric thickness has a signicant
effect on the air permeability values of the bamboo fabric,
as air permeability tended to increase as thickness
decreased, irrespective of yarn linear density and stitch
length. The lower thickness and mass per square metre also
facilitate the passage of air through the fabric. The lower
hairiness of the bamboo blended yarns may be another
contributing factor towards the better air permeability [9].
Fabrics made from ner tex show higher air permeability
consistently. The mass per square metre and thickness of
the fabrics made from the ner tex are lower. All these
factors contribute towards the higher air permeability.
Thermal conductivity
It is observed from the Fig. 2 that as the linear density and
stitch length of bamboo bre increases, the thermal con-
ductivity of the knitted fabrics reduces. For the same stitch
length, ner tex yarns show lower thermal conductivity.
Thermal conductivity is calculated using the following
expression.
k Wm
1
K
1


Qh
ADTt
;
where Q is the amount of conducted heat (J), A is the area
through which the heat is conducted (m
2
), t is the time of
conductivity (s), DT is the drop of temperature (K) and h is
the fabric thickness (m).
The amount of bre in the unit area increases and the
amount of air layer decreases as the weight increases. As is
known, thermal conductivity values of bres are higher
than the thermal conductivity of entrapped air. The lower
thermal conductivity of fabrics made from the ner counts
could be ascribed to the higher porosity value of the fabrics
made from the ner yarns [3].
Thermal resistance
As can be seen from the Table 2, as the fabric thickness
decrease, the thermal resistance values decreases. This
situation might be explained by the fabric thickness. The
fabric thickness value is signicantly lower in 0.31-cm
Table 2 Effect of stitch length and yarn linear density on the thermal properties of the single jersey fabrics
Linear density
in tex
Loop
length/
cm
Fabric
thickness/
mm
Weight in
unit area/
gm
-2
Air
permeability/
cm
3
cm
-2
s
-1
Relative water
vapour permeability/
%
Thermal conductivity/
Wm
-1
K
-1
9 10
-3
Thermal resistance/
m
2
KW
-1
9 10
-3
29.5 0.27 0.598 176 304 43.01 42.22 18.44
0.29 0.572 149 364 42.05 41.13 17.99
0.31 0.563 128 389 40.44 40.77 17.03
23.6 0.27 0.552 110 402 46.04 42.94 18.32
0.29 0.542 101 467 44.97 41.87 17.74
0.31 0.529 97 499 42.33 40.02 17.01
19.6 0.27 0.540 94 542 49.28 42.1 16.78
0.29 0.528 85 558 48.04 40.1 16.35
0.31 0.519 80 574 46.68 38.1 16.05
700
Air permeability/cm
3
cm
2
s
1
600
500
400
300
200
100
0
0.27 cm
29.5 Tex 23.6 Tex 19.6 Tex
0.29 cm 0.31cm 0.27 cm 0.29 cm 0.31 cm 0.27 cm 0.29 cm 0.31 cm
Fig. 1 Inuence of loop length and linear density on air permeability
A study of the thermal properties
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Author's personal copy
loop length with 19.6-tex linear density (Fig. 3). Therefore,
with the decreasing of fabric thickness, thermal resistance
will decrease as it is given in Eq. 1.
R m
2
KW
1


h m
k Wm
1
K
1
; 1
where h is thickness (m) and k is the thermal conductivity
(W/m K).
Relative water vapour permeability
Figure 4 illustrates the values of water vapour permeability
with respect to stitch length and different linear density.
According to the results, there is no signicant difference
between the relative water vapour permeability values of
bamboo fabrics. The water vapour permeability is highly
dependent on the macroporous structure of constituent
bres. According to the results, as the linear density of
bamboo bre increases, the water vapour permeability
increases. The water vapour permeability is higher for the
fabrics made from ner tex yarns. The higher water vapour
permeability of bamboo fabrics can be attributed to the
lower values of mass per square metre and thickness, which
facilitate the easy passage of the water vapour through the
fabrics.
Conclusions
In this study, the thermal properties of single jersey fabrics
knitted with 19.6-, 23.6-, 29.5-tex 100% bamboo yarns
with different stitch lengths were investigated. The increase
of linear density and stitch length in the fabric affected
thermal comfort properties. So thermal resistance and
thermal conductivity values of these fabrics were compared
and it was found that as the yarn gets ner the thermal
resistance and thermal conductivity decrease. The water
vapour permeability and air permeability shows concomi-
tant increase as the linear density and stitch length
increases.
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