Benefits of Wool
Merino has numerous natural attributes that make it one of the most comfortable of fabrics to wear.
Fashion isn’t just about how you look but how you feel, and Merino has numerous natural attributes that make it one of the most comfortable of fabrics to wear. Its superfine fibres feel like silk next to the skin. It also has the ability to respond to changes in, and help regulate body temperature – keeping you warm when it’s cold and absorbing moisture and releasing it into the air so that when you’re hot from exertion it will help cool you down.
Winter or summer, Merino keeps you feeling great.
There are a number of aspects of the physical and chemical structure of Merino that make it naturally more resistant to odors than other textiles, especially synthetics.
Moisture Transport – While sweat itself has no odor, if it remains on the skin in time bacteria develop and create unpleasant body odors. Merino reduces the opportunity for odors to generate because it is more efficient than other textiles at absorbing sweat and evaporating it into the air.
No Microbial attraction – Studies have shown that bacteria are more attracted to the smooth, positively charged surface of a synthetic fiber than the scaly surface of a Merino fiber which carries no charge.
Moisture Absorption – The Merino has a much greater capacity than other fibers to absorb moisture. In fact, it can absorb 35% of its own weight in liquid. The moisture is bound within the structure, and so is not available to microbes, which are unable to penetrate the scaly surface of the fiber.
Glass Transition – In water and conditions of high humidity, Merino passes through what is termed a glass transition at which point it dramatically increases its rate of absorption and dispersion.
Trapping Odors – The rate of diffusion of small and large molecules into the fiber increases and it is able to absorb odors faster. When the temperature drops, and the fiber once again falls below the glass transition, the odors are trapped within the structure even if the moisture evaporates. Later, during laundering, the garment again passes through the glass transition point and the odors are carried out of the structure by the water. Synthetics are not able to benefit from this same effect because they do not pass through glass transition during normal wear.
In extreme exertion, you need a garment that ‘breathes’, which means it must be able to absorb perspiration and release it into the air. No fabric does that quite like Merino.
The hydrophilic core of the Merino fibre has an amazing capacity to absorb liquid – up to 35% of its own weight – so it’s better than synthetics at removing sweat from the skin, moving it away, and releasing it as vapour.
Wool is a year-round fiber. Wool can easily absorb up to 30 percent of its weight in moisture without feeling damp or clammy. The ability of wool to absorb moisture makes it comfortable in both warm and cold conditions. By absorbing perspiration, wool enhances the body’s own cooling system and helps keep the skin dry. This characteristic makes wool a versatile all-season fabric.
Wool is a hygroscopic fiber; it takes up moisture in vapor form. Tiny pores in the epicuticle make the fiber semi-permeable, allowing vapor to pass through to the heart of the fiber. Wool can easily absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling damp or clammy.
The capacity to absorb makes wool a “temperature regulator” because it can protect the body in both cold and warm conditions. Wool always absorbs moisture from the atmosphere of greater humidity and releases it to the drier environment as it creates a balance in moisture conditions. This characteristic makes wool a versatile all-season fabric.
Wool absorbs perspiration; thus it keeps a layer of dry air next to the skin which, in turn, helps to hold in body heat. As wool absorbs atmospheric moisture, the hydrogen bond of water is broken and chemically reacts with molecules of the wool to generate heat.
Wool garments are therefore regarded as good protection against hypothermia… a condition that occurs when sudden drastic lowering of body temperature causes the body to lose heat faster than it can be produced.
The same principle of moisture contact on the skin acts to protect against hot weather as well. The body cools itself naturally with the evaporation of perspiration. Wool expedites this process by absorbing perspiration and keeping the same dry air next to the skin. This is why wool clothing is worn throughout the desert regions of the world where it’s hot during the day and cool at night.
In environmentally conscious times, wools sustainable and biodegradable properties are highly marketable.
Refined over time wool fibre is inherently natural, biodegradable and sustainable*.
Wool is a natural fibre. Wool has evolved over time to become one of the most effective natural forms of all-weather protection known to man.
When a natural wool fibre is disposed of it takes only a few years to decompose. Most synthetics on the other hand, are extremely slow to degrade.
Every year sheep produce a new fleece, making Merino wool a renewable fibre source. Wool growers actively work to improve efficiency and care for natural resources, endeavoring to make the wool industry sustainable for future generations.
Resistance to Flame
Because wool contains moisture in every fiber, it resists flame without chemical treatment. Instead of burning freely when touched by flame, wool chars and stops burning when it is removed from the source of the flame. Wool is self-extinguishing; it will not support combustion. This is why wool blankets are recommended for use in extinguishing small fires. More importantly, when wool burns it doesn’t melt and stick to the skin. That’s why some fire-fighters’ uniforms are made from wool and why it’s an excellent fabric for bedding.
Durability and Resilience
Each wool fiber is a molecular coilspring making the fiber remarkably elastic. Nature has folded the chemical polypeptide chains back upon themselves in such a way that they act like a coiled spring which elongates when it is extended and retracts when it is released. This molecular crimp, along with the 3-dimensional fiber, allows wool fibers to be stretched up to 50% when wet and 30% when dry, and still bounce back to their original shape when stress is released. But be careful: When wool is wet the fibers are weaker. Recovery from stress takes place faster when the fiber is in a humid environment; that’s why steaming a wool garment will freshen the fabric and why a steam iron is recommended for pressing wool.
The flexibility of the wool fiber also makes it more durable. A wool fiber can be bent back on itself more than 20,000 times without breaking, compared to about 3,000 times for cotton and 2,000 times for silk. The natural elasticity of wool also makes woolen fabrics resistant to tearing. In addition, the outer skin of the wool fiber acts as a protective film, giving wool cloth improved resistance to abrasion.
Wool absorbs many different dyes deeply, uniformly and directly without the use of other chemicals. Because of this ability, wool is known for the beautiful, rich colors that can be achieved.
Testing of various textiles shows that wool has a natural UV protection factor of 30+ in more than 70% of cases, much higher than most synthetics and cotton. For harsh summers, merino activewear helps protect against the sun’s potentially deadly rays.
Handle and Drape
Australian Merino has excellent natural handle. Its renowned drape is due to the fineness of the fibres as well as the natural elasticity and resilience of Merino.