Fiber testing results are in!
Alpaca fiber testing for properties that we often promote when discussing fiber products such as “warmer than,” “insulating” and “antimicrobial” have been on AOA's Fiber and Fiber Products Committee agenda for some time. In 2009 heat loss testing was completed on woven suri and huacaya samples and in 2019 a pilot antimicrobial test was performed on both huacaya and suri fiber. In 2020 additional antimicrobial and heat loss testing was completed with very positive results!
Antimicrobial Activity Testing
Testing was performed in adherence with ASTM Standard E2149-13a on both suri and huacaya fiber samples. E. coli was introduced to both samples and after one hour the viable bacterial cells in the huacaya sample were reduced by approximately 65% and in the suri, by approximately 79%.
Thermal Conductivity Testing
Testing was performed in adherence with ASTM Standard 1868 on both suri and huacaya fabric samples. Both knit fabric and felt were tested to expand the 2009 evaluation of woven fabrics. It is important to keep in mind that the values can, and will change, depending upon the thickness and construction (weave, knit, or felted) of the fabrics tested. A measurement called the Clo Value, which is widely used in the clothing industry and represents the heat comfort/insulation value of a given fabric, was determined. Values for permeability, which represents the heat retention value (breathability of the fabric) and Total Heat Loss, which represents the amount of metabolic heat generation that can be exerted without comfort loss, were also determined. The results generated from the analysis can be used to positively and appropriately position alpaca fiber textiles in the marketplace.
Alpaca Fleece Claims
These test results give alpaca owners specific scientifically supportable data for claims we make about alpaca fiber. Alpaca fiber is indeed antimicrobial (65–79% bacterial load reduction) and the insulating value while maintaining comfort levels during activity is also high (dependent upon thickness of fabric and porosity) when compared to published metabolic rates for different activities.
The test results can be found on the website at www.alpacainfo.com/academy/article/4754/alpaca-fiber-studiesalong with the complete summary of these results at www.alpacainfo.com/academy/article/3977/2020-fiber-testing-results.
A special thank you to Ruth Fuqua and Wini Labrecque for interpreting and presenting the results.
© 2020 Alpaca Owners Association, Inc.