Faster, Higher, Stronger: Utilizing Digital Lab Notebooks in the Sports Textiles Industry

Digital Solutions, ELN

digital lab notebooks
Sports textiles are essential for athletes given that they improve their comfort and performance. Using ELNs in industry research can thus assist with the development of newer, more efficient and effective materials.
Image Source: Flickr user Donald Lee Pardue

Individuals from all corners of the world are familiar with the five ringed, multicolored and interlocking circles that have come to represent the Olympics. Fewer, however, are as familiar with its motto: Citius, Altius, Fortius, Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” Regardless, it seems fitting that these three words would describe the Olympic games, which showcase the best of human physical abilities by introducing the world to the fastest men and women, who are stronger than most and reach higher than so many others to achieve their goals.

But this motto does not just describe the Olympics alone. Indeed, it seems fitting to view the textile industry responsible for sports-related clothing through the lens provided by the same saying given that the best textile manufacturers engineer products capable of improving performance. As Johns Hopkins reports, “Today’s athletes are hungry for the latest fabrics, shoes, and accessories that will boost comfort and performance,” the basis of which are the innovative design of sports textiles.

The specifications for creating sports textiles

According to the Textile Learner blog, the properties required for sports textiles are vast. These include comfort and easy handling as well as lightness and electrical conductivity. Additionally, the author mentions other important properties of superior sportswear such as “good perspiration fastness and the ability to block UVA and UVB rays.” Altogether, these innovations (a few of which were mentioned here) are important for improving the athletic abilities of the wearer, or at least sustaining him or her during a long jog, ride or swim.

Currently, there are a number of different fiber types and designs used in the creation of sports textiles that enable clothing to achieve the properties discussed above (i.e. lightness, ease of handle, etc). These are mostly synthetic fibers (i.e. aramid fibers, ultra-high tenacity polyethylene fibers, polyphenylene sulphide fibers, novoloid fibers, etc) used with novel fiber spinning techniques (i.e. gel spinning, bicomponent spinning and microfiber spinning) “to produce fibers, yarns and fabrics with unique performance characteristics suitable for use in sportswear and sports good.” For example, one textile industry blogger notes, “By using the conjugate spinning technique, many different types of sophisticated fibers with various functions have been commercially produced which has resulted in fabrics having improved mechanical, physical, chemical and biological functions.” Thus, in choosing a fiber, as well as a technique, textile manufacturers are able to create functional and novel items.

The Future of Sports textiles

The search for innovative and new designs, however, never ends with one discovery. Textile manufacturers are also now turning to E-textiles in which electronic components can also be embedded into clothing, or smart textiles. The uses for this type of technological innovation are vast and include “sports training data acquisition” and “health monitoring of vital signs of the wearer such as heart rate, respiration rate, temperature, activity and posture.” If athletes, even at the highest levels had light, easily handled clothing with electronic components capable of monitoring their physical activity, this could truly revolutionize training and herald an era in which athletes are able to prepare for events with the most incredible precision. The introduction of nanoparticles into fibers made from other composite materials can help herald this “brave new world” of sports textiles and related innovations.

Digital Lab Notebooks: the source of discovery in the sports textiles industry

To discover the industry’s “next best fiber” or fiber-weaving techniques, industry specialties will need to increase the efficiency and quality of their work, a task that can be most easily done by switching to digital lab notebooks. Digital lab notebooks enable data to be readily accessed and analyzed. From disparate locations across the globe, researchers can access the experimental results of their colleagues and establish collaborations that expedite the process of design and the implementation of new ideas. As new materials and nanoparticles are discovered and tested, this information (as well as the materials themselves) can be tracked and linked to other pages within a project for easy retrieval later.

Additionally, if a new discovery is made and a patent needed, industry specialists can avoid the drama of dual-filings with competitors given that digital lab notebooks provide key information, such as when a project was started enabling companies to avoid ownership disputes. Digital lab notebooks can also be integrated with other data systems to establish the flexibility and robustness needed to improve the work of scientists and make it more likely that novel sports textiles are made and subsequently used to create sportswear.

The BIOVIA Notebook is a gold-standard within the industry, providing scientists with the functionality and flexibility to document intellectual property, collaborate more efficiently in an increasingly global and networked environment, and make scientific observations that are easier to search, find and use and thus implement toward the creation of new products. To determine how our notebook can help you, please contact us today.

4 thoughts on “Faster, Higher, Stronger: Utilizing Digital Lab Notebooks in the Sports Textiles Industry

  1. I am a bicycle enthusiast, who rides bicycle to work most days. As a bicycle commuter, I really like the idea of the new, advanced textile idea for athletic wear. For bicycles, you can always purchase the top of the line product, which will increase your speed tremendously. However, there’s no product in the market that improves the athletes’ full potential. The idea of embedding electronic(?) devices in clothing is really great because there are so many cyclists and athletes having to burden so many devices to keep track of records, such as pace and heart monitors. With electronic capabilities within athletic wear, athletes won’t have to worry about running or cycling with different devices attached to them.

  2. Thank you, Julien for your comment! Indeed, there are many ways companies hope to improve athlete’s performance and electronic devices in clothing to monitor performance measures such as speed, for example, are important aspects of this development. Other ways companies hope to improve performance is to continue investing in fabrics that are more comfortable and durable than the ones today.

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