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No Sweat
April 25, 2013   
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No one likes to sweat. That unpleasant feeling when perspiration trickles down your skin becomes even worse when the sweat cools and wet clothes stick to your body like an icy compress. Zbigniew Poliński and Krzysztof Raczyński, two engineers from the central city of £ód¼, have created a chemical-free system that absorbs sweat.

Ahuman being excretes more than 400 different chemicals in sweat, many of which have a strong, unpleasant odor. In this way the body gets rid of harmful byproducts during the metabolism process. It also absorbs them back if they cannot be immediately removed from clothes or damp bed sheets. Sick and disabled people immobilized in bed in such conditions are prone to develop bedsores.

Car producer Mercedes-Benz, in a bid to improve comfort for drivers and passengers, tried to solve the problem of sweat-damp clothes by ventilating car seats from the back. The Japanese, in turn, have come up with an air-conditioning system that reduces the temperature around the driver. But even this did not produce the expected results, according to the Polish engineers.

Poliński, who works at the Textile Research Institute of the £ód¼ University of Technology, and Raczyński, from the Faculty of Material Technologies and Textile Design, have developed what they say is a perfect method to deal with sweat. Their PORA system (from the first two letters of the inventors’ last names) removes sweat from clothing, bedclothes, sleeping bags and other items. The invention could have a wide range of uses, even though Poliński and Raczyński say they worked on it as a hobby.

Their simple, low-cost system does not involve chemicals, the designers say. In the case of bedclothes, in between the mattress and the sheet, the designers installed a system of perforated tubes connected to a device that absorbs sweat and carbon dioxide vapors. The device is combined with a specially designed vacuum pump constructed by Poliński. The pump is virtually fool-proof, consumes little power and, importantly, works quietly, the designers say. The mat into which the tube system is sewn must make the tubes unnoticeable to the person lying on it. The free space in the double-layer industrial knitted fabric of which the mat is made is filled with thin, springy fibers. They guarantee comfortable sleep without disturbing the system which absorbs the moisture. The user can adjust the level of vacuum power in the system in order to maximize comfort; 40 percent humidity and a temperature of 33 degrees Celsius at the surface of the skin are optimal for the functioning of the human body, experts say.

Removing sweat and carbon dioxide vapors from bedding or clothing prevents excessive moisture, says Raczyński. “It improves thermal insulation and prevents the skin from absorbing toxins excreted by the body,” he says. “The system can be widely used in land, air and sea transport, in professional sports, recreation, the army, firefighting, police operations and medicine. The project is still at the development stage and the designers are looking for ways to put it to commercial use. They are working with two companies in Poland and have also established international contacts.

Danuta K. Gruszczyńska
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