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Friction between people and fabrics

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Ms Helen Gardner.

Friction between people and fabric is both very important to everyday comfort and surprisingly little researched. Apart from the obvious constant interaction with clothing, friction between human skin and fabrics (often nonwoven fabrics) is a big issue for hygiene and medical products such as sanitary towels, incontinence pads, and wound dressings. The ability to design such fabrics for given friction properties against skin would be a substantial technical achievement, and give any producer of hygiene / medical products a decided advantage in the marketplace.

The work presented in this seminar (undertaken during a recent PhD project at UCL ) explored two aspects of the skin-fabric friction problem: what causes friction between skin and nonwoven fabric; and how can a tense, flexible fabric sheet sliding over a curved, anatomical surface be understood? These have been addressed by a mixture of experimental and theoretical work. Though work continues on both aspects, results have already had consequences in the lab, and a major hygiene company is sponsoring further development with the intention of using the fruits of this project to design improved products.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Mechanics and Materials Seminar series.

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