Transport properties of multi-layer fabric based on electrospun nanofiber mats as a breathable barrier textile materialby R. Bagherzadeh, M. Latifi, S. S. Najar, M. A. Tehran, M. Gorji, L. Kong

Textile Research Journal


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The online version of this article can be found at:

DOI: 10.1177/0040517511420766 2012 82: 70 originally published online 14 September 2011Textile Research Journal

Lingxue Kong

Roohollah Bagherzadeh, Masoud Latifi, Saeed Shaikhzadeh Najar, Mohammad Amani Tehran, Mohsen Gorji and textile material

Transport properties of multi-layer fabric based on electrospun nanofiber mats as a breathable barrier

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Original article

Transport properties of multi-layer fabric based on electrospun nanofiber mats as a breathable barrier textile material

Roohollah Bagherzadeh1,3, Masoud Latifi1,

Saeed Shaikhzadeh Najar1, Mohammad Amani Tehran1,

Mohsen Gorji2 and Lingxue Kong3


Layered fabric systems with an electrospun nanofiber web layered onto a sandwich of woven fabric were developed to examine the feasibility of developing breathable barrier textile materials. Some parameters of nanofiber mats, including the time of electrospinning and the polymer solution concentration, were designed to change and barrier properties of specimens were compared. Air permeability, water vapor transmission, and water repellency (Bundesmann and hydrostatic pressure tests) were assessed as indications of comfort and barrier performance of different samples. These performances of layered nanofiber fabrics were compared with a well-known water repellent breathable multi-layered fabric (Gortex).

Multi-layered electrospun nanofiber mats equipped fabric (MENMEF) showed better performance in windproof property than Gortex fabric. Also, water vapor permeability of MENMEF was in a range of normal woven sport and work clothing.

Comparisons of barrier properties of MENMEF and the currently available PTFE coated materials showed that, those properties could be achieved by layered fabric systems with electrospun nanofiber mats.


Electrospun nanofiber mats, windproof clothing, moisture permeability, barrier property


In many severe climatic situations, breathable fabrics protect the human body from external heat, wind, and water, and at the same time they should also let themoist vapor be transmitted from the inside to the outside atmosphere, properly. Breathable fabrics passively allow water vapor to diffuse through them yet still prevent the penetration of liquid water. The breathability of fabric is the ability of clothing to allow the transmission of moisture vapor by diffusion and therefore facilitate evaporative cooling.1,2

Garments which are both water repellent and breathable help to provide the wearer with a greater level of comfort in many unpleasant situations. Water repellency and moisture permeability are two mutually contradictory functions. Consequently, producing a material which has both these properties has proved to be a major challenge for manufacturers of waterproof performance fabrics, although several technologies have been developed for specific end uses and weather conditions.3 These materials categorized from semi-protective clothing (by applying finishes to fabrics) to impermeable polymeric coated suits. Micro-porous membranes and laminated fabrics, which are used as barrier material for protective clothing applications, offer a higher level of protection but lower water vapor permeability which causes some discomfort for the wearer.4,5 Most of the time, there is a negative relationship between the level of protection and comfort 1ATMT Research Institute, Textile Engineering Department, Amirkabir

University of Technology, Tehran, Iran. 2Department of Textile Engineering, Science and Research Branch, Islamic

Azad University, Tehran, Iran. 3Centre for Material and Fibre Innovation, ITRI, Deakin University, Waurn

Ponds, VIC 3217, Australia.

Corresponding author:

Roohollah Bagherzadeh, ATMT Research Institute, Textile Engineering

Department, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran.


Textile Research Journal 82(1) 70–76 ! The Author(s) 2011

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DOI: 10.1177/0040517511420766 at CARLETON UNIV on June 21, 2014trj.sagepub.comDownloaded from properties.3,4 So, there is a need to develop a new technology for producing materials that offer a combination of adequate barrier performance and comfort satisfaction, simultaneously.

Electrospinning as an effective and promising technique for the production of nanofibers, provides a mat of extremely fine fibers with small pore size and high surface area.6 ,–8 Electrospun nanofibers may have a broad application in composite nonwoven structures in traditional markets. The small fiber diameter and porous structure of the nanofiber mats gives rise to a large specific surface area. This is advantageous in a wide variety of applications such as high performance filters, scaffold in tissue engineering, separation membranes, reinforcement in composite materials, templates for the preparation of functional nanotubes, and many others.6 One of the main attractive specifications of electrospun mats in the area of protective garments could be the direct application of electrospun multi-layered mats to garments.9 Direct application of electrospun webs to garment systems would eliminate costly manufacturing steps and solve seam-sealing problems that have been limiting factors in protective garments.9 ,–11

The potential use of electrospun mats in protective clothing has been investigated including: protection of chemical warfare agents,11 protective clothing materials for agricultural workers,10,12 and liquid penetration barriers.10,13 Gibson et al.11 has shown an enhancement of aerosol protection via a protective layer of fine submicron fiber produced by electrospinning, with focusing on barrier materials to the penetration of chemical warfare agents in the aerosol form. They found that the electrospun nanofiber mats of different polymers can provide good aerosol particle protection, without a significant change in moisture vapor transport of the assembly.