Wool Studies

Are you planning on using wool for your next product? Do you know want to know more in depth information about this multifaceted fibre?

Substantial research shows the multitude of benefits of wool. Click on a topic or scroll to see some of these studies:

Heat and Moisture Regulation
Green Wool – Environmental Benefits of Wool
Acoustic Performance
Flammability
Anti Static
Control of Indoor Air Pollution
Walking Comfort and Safety
Merino for Performance Activewear
Merino for Military Applications

Additional New Zealand Wool Story Resources

Heat and Moisture Regulation

  • Due to its superior insulation characteristics, wool carpet provides a warmer, safer, more comfortable surface on which to stand/sit than hard flooring.
  • Wool fibre has a hydrophobic (water repelling) exterior and hydrophilic (water loving) interior that confer its unique moisture management properties – properties that are not shared by synthetic fibres such as nylon.
  • In contrast to most synthetic fibres, wool has the capacity to remove large amounts (up to 35% of its own weight) of moisture from inside a room, before the fibre
    even begins to feel wet.
  • Wool’s chemical structure means that it has the ability to actively absorb and desorb moisture and to gain and release heat depending on the external and internal environment – thus buffering a room against environmental changes.
  • A wool carpet’s ability to absorb moisture may result in a reduced propensity for condensation within a room

Click here for full technical paper to print or download

 

Green Wool Facts – The Wool Industry and Environment

  • Wool is biodegradeable, the carbon in wool is derived from carbon from the pasture – and thus sequestered from the current atmosphere, not from fossil fuels.
  • Read about the Carbon Cycle and analyze the Life Cycle Assessment of wool production
  • Case studies of wool growers around the world
  • Significant energy savings and comfort/health improvements are achievable by installation of wool carpets.

Click here for Green Wool Facts paper to print or download

 

Acoustic Performance

  • Exposure to unwanted or excessive noise has been shown to result in a range of negative health impacts, including hearing loss, loss of concentration, sleep deprivation, stress, headaches, ulcers and a higher incidence of respiratory complaints.
  • Wool carpets out perform hard flooring in terms of their capacity to suppress unwanted noise.
  • The fibrous nature of wool carpets and upholstery means that, unlike many other materials, wool products can reduce, at the same time, a) airborne sound, b) surface noise, and c) sound transmission.
  • Wool carpeting is a healthy and comfortable choice for a flooring system as it provides thermal insulation allowing the room in which it is installed to remain a comfortable temperature while aiding in sound absorption.

Click here for full technical paper to print or download

 

Flammability

  • Wool carpets have exceptionally low levels of flammability and represent the logical choice for creating safe, healthy indoor environments.
  • Wool is naturally flame resistant, and its performance exceeds that of all other commonly encountered textile fibres.
  • Wool has a low heat of combustion and a low rate of heat release.
  • If wool comes into direct contact with another burning surface, it won’t melt or stick, and is self extinguishing once the initial ignition source is removed.
  • Wool forms an insulating char when it burns and evolves less smoke and toxic gases than formed during combustion of most synthetic fibres.

Click here for full technical paper to print or download

 

Anti-Static

  • Because of its unique moisture retention properties, wool carpeting is less prone to building up static electric charge than synthetic fibre carpeting.
  • Use of wool carpets provides a safer and more comfortable work environment than synthetic products, particularly in applications where static electricity is of particular concern – aircraft carpets, buildings with sensitive electronic equipment, fuel transfer facilities, etc.

Click Here for Anti-Static Information

 

Control of Indoor Air Pollution

  •  Wool carpet is an efficient absorber of potentially harmful indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, effectively removing them from the environment.
  • Wool carpets out perform nylon carpets in terms of their capacity to purify the indoor air.
  • Under normal circumstances, no risk is posed to human health by emissions from carpets, and selection of wool carpeting may even permit optimisation of the process for indoor air quality improvement.
  • Interior textiles such as carpeting can act as filters for particulate pollutants and subsequent cleaning provides an easy means of managing human exposure to such hazards.
  • Particulate pollutants such as mite allergens are no more likely to build up in wool carpet than synthetic carpet and are readily removed by vacuuming.
  • Carpet has a much reduced propensity for disturbance of particulate pollutants (allergens, etc) than hard flooring.
  • Wool’s ability to effectively buffer heat and moisture, in combination with its propensity to control indoor air pollutants, make it ideal for creating safe and healthy interior environments.

Click here for full technical paper to print of download

 

Walking Comfort and Safety

NON SLIP/IMPACT RESISTANCE

  • Carpets provide a safe, comfortable living and workplace surface for people of all ages.
  • Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries in under-5-year olds, and cause injuries in the elderly.
  • Particularly when wet, wool carpets have a higher coefficient of kinetic friction than hard flooring surfaces, meaning the propensity for slips/ falls is much reduced.

Click here for full technical paper to print of download

 

Merino for Performance Activewear

Heat and Moisture Management

  • Merino fibre has a hydrophobic (water repelling) exterior and hydrophilic (water loving) interior that confer its unique moisture management properties , resulting in enhanced wearer comfort and performance.
  • In contrast to most synthetic fibres, wool has the capacity to remove large amounts (up to 35% of its own weight) of moisture from the skin surface, before the fibre even begins to feel wet.
  • A fabric’s ability to allow the transmission of water vapour through its structure will significantly affect the comfort of the wearer. The ability of Merino fabrics to do this surpasses that of synthetics.
  • The chemical structure of Merino fibre means that it has the ability to absorb and absorb moisture and to gain and release heat depending on the external and internal environment – thus buffering wearers against environmental changes.
  • As it absorbs moisture, Merino fibre releases a small but perceptible amount of heat. In an apparel or hosiery application this prevents the wearer from chilling in wet, cool conditions. In hot conditions the reverse effect occurs, affording a natural means of buffering the body’s microclimate.

Odour Suppression/Ease of care

  • Body odour arises as a by-product of bacteria, which proliferate in warm moist environments (e.g, when sweat is allowed to remain on the skin for a period of time).
  • Merino fibre, through its complex chemical and physical structure, resists the development and proliferation of odour to a much greater extent than synthetic materials or cotton.
  • Merino apparel and hosiery is readily laundered to remove soil or other contaminants of potential relevance to health – and efficient shrink resist processes are employed to enable full machine washability.

UV Protection

  • UV radiation reaching earth from the sun can have deleterious effects on human health when overexposure occurs.
  • Merino fibre is a very efficient absorber of potentially harmful UV-A and UV-B radiation.
  • Fabric construction is also a key determinant of the extent to which textiles will protect a wearer from UV radiation.
  • Summer-weight Merino garments have been consistently shown to offer a higher degree of UV protection than fabrics constructed of competing materials.

Click here for full technical paper to print or download

 


Merino for Military Applications

Merino is being tested for greater military use around the world. Wool is a logical choice for military use due to the heat and moisture management, flame-resistant qualities, comfort, odour suppression, ease of care and UV Protection.

Heat and Moisture Management

  • Merino fibre has a hydrophobic (water repelling) exterior and hydrophilic (water loving) interior that confer its unique moisture management properties resulting in enhanced wearer comfort and performance.
  • In contrast to most synthetic fibres, wool has the capacity to remove large amounts (up to 35% of its own weight) of moisture from the skin surface, before the fibre even begins to feel wet.
  • A fabric’s ability to allow the transmission of water vapour through its structure will significantly affect the comfort of the wearer. The ability of Merino fabrics to do this surpasses that of synthetics.
  • The chemical structure of Merino fibre means that it has the ability to absorb and desorb moisture and to gain and release heat depending on the external and internal environment – thus buffering wearers against environmental changes.
  • As it absorbs moisture, Merino fibre releases a small but perceptible amount of heat. In an apparel or hosiery application this prevents the wearer from chilling in wet, cool conditions. In hot conditions the reverse effect occurs, affording a natural means of buffering the body’s microclimate.

Flammability

  • Merino fibre is naturally flame resistant, and its performance exceeds that of all other commonly encountered textile fibres, making it ideal for usage in military and protective services applications.
  • In the unlikely event it does ignite, Merino has a low heat of combustion and a low rate of heat release compared with other textile materials.
  • If Merino comes into direct contact with a burning substance, it won’t melt or stick, and will self extinguish once the ignition source is removed.
  • Wool forms an insulating char when it burns and evolves less smoke and toxic gases than formed during combustion of most synthetic fibres.

Foot Health and Comfort

  • Managing relative humidity and temperature within footwear and providing cushioning to the feet are key to maintaining foot health and comfort.
  • Wool socks provide a means of managing the foot micro environment, effectively reducing relative humidity and the propensity for blister formation.
  • The natural resilience and bulk of wool means wool socks provide a mechanism for cushioning the jarring impact of the foot during strenuous walking/running activity.
  • Wool socks have been shown to have odour suppression properties far superior to socks made from synthetic fibres or cotton.

Odour Suppression/Ease of care

  • Body odour arises as a by-product of bacteria, which proliferate in warm moist environments (e.g when sweat is allowed to remain on the skin for a period of time).
  • Merino fibre, through its complex chemical and physical structure, resists the development and proliferation of odour to a much greater extent than synthetic materials or cotton.
  • Merino apparel and hosiery is readily laundered to remove soil or other contaminants of potential relevance to health – and efficient shrink resist processes are employed to enable full machine washability.

UV Protection

  • UV radiation reaching earth from the sun can have deleterious effects on human health when overexposure occurs.
  • Merino fibre is a very efficient absorber of potentially harmful UV-A and UV-B radiation.
  • Fabric construction is also a key determinant of the extent to which textiles will protect a wearer from UV radiation.
  • Summer-weight Merino garments have been consistently shown to offer a higher degree of UV protection than similar fabrics constructed of competing materials.

Stuff Article about merino being trialled in Combat Zones

Click here for full technical paper to print or download