Erwin Hack, Lorenzo Valzania and Peter Zolliker
In addition to being fashionable, textile materials for clothing need to be comfortable, functional, and biocompatible. These requirements are especially important for cases where skin is in continuous contact with textiles, e.g., for long-distance hikers, babies in wet diapers, or bedridden patients. Such cases can pose a risk to health, especially when sweat, pressure, and friction factors are considered. In these situations, it is essential to determine the physical parameters involved, such as the real contact area of the skin–textile interface and the distribution of water at this interface. Knowledge of these parameters is required for gaining a deeper understanding of processes, such as impairment of the physiological functions of skin caused by swelling or loss of blood circulation, as well as for the development of improved materials. It is challenging, however, to study the skin–textile interface because it is hidden by the material. Furthermore, the insertion of a sensor at the interface would drastically alter the local physical properties.