This Project will develop and commercialise practical fabric measurement technology and related know-how to enable the production and marketing of wool garments meeting critical next to skin performance criteria for consumers. In so doing, it will provide the wool apparel industry with the mechanism needed to address the strong negative association of the word ‘wool’ with ‘prickle and itch’, and foster development of new markets for wool knitwear where next-to-skin comfort is required.
At present, in order to guarantee good next to skin comfort outcome, most next-to-skin capable base layer wool knitwear is manufactured using Merino fibre of less than 18.5 microns, of which Australia supplies over 95% of world requirements, and which in turn represents around 20% of the Australian clip volume. The commercial impact of this project will be through the provision of an instrument to measure next-to-skin comfort and a know-how package to ensure the supply chain can more effectively engineer garment next-to-skin performance by optimising fibre and processing variables. The Wool Comfort Meter will be taken to the industry together with the Wool Handle Meter.
They will be introduced to the major Australian and international knitters and retailers as an extension of the development phase of the project and will be done in conjunction with AWI and their supply chain network. Working with the supply chain in this manner will allow fine tuning and further development of the know-how package to support the technology. The expected result will be a technology that will underpin the development of new products as well as validate the fitness for purpose of current products. This will in turn increase preferential demand for fine Australian wool (< 19.5 microns). Importantly, it is anticipated that this Project will widen the proportion of the Australian clip presently able to be supplied to the next-to-skin knitwear market.
In collaboration with supply chain partners, this project will develop a commercial instrument for direct measurement of the next-to-skin comfort ('prickliness’) of wool knitted fabrics. This instrument has been calibrated against human response data. The previous years have allowed us to demonstrated measurement precision and good correlation between the instrument and wearer responses. The main focus in these later years is on gaining industry acceptance for the technology by planned interactions with leading global supply chain companies that demonstrate the value and relevance of the measurement. This will lead to greater industry awareness and accelerate the adoption of the technology.
This analysis is being led by Deakin University.
Download the Wool Program brochures below.