Abstract: The sports performance apparel industry leads the effort of innovating materials to keep athletes cool while training and competing. Recently there is a trend where sports product manufacturers seek to develop materials with a cool touch. Cool touch materials can provide an athlete next-to-skin comfort but can also influence point-of-purchase decisions and be used as a marketing tool—as the consumer can feel for themselves the cool-touch benefit. There are two key methods used to measure cool touch. The first, Q-Max, provides values of heat flux, whereas the Modified Transient Plane Source (MTPS) measures effusivity. This paper reviews considerations for the sports apparel industry when collecting performance metrics from materials, distinguishing procedural details of each cool touch measurement methodology. A case study was subsequently conducted using a MTPS sensor to measure cool touch for eight common sport T-shirt materials and the influence of weight and thickness. When cool touch is coupled with other sport material performance characteristics (e.g., anti-cling, moisture transfer, air permeability) manufacturers have the potential of creating their own intellectual property and communicating a competitive point of difference in the marketplace.
Keywords: Cool Touch, Sports apparel, T-shirt materials, Thermal effusivity