What is Stomatex®?
Stomatex® Neoprene is a high performance fabric made from a lightweight, ultra-thin, non-porous polyester membrane that is weatherproof and highly breathable. Stomatex® is the patented physics that replicates the way that the leaves of plants transpire. It is currently embedded in our unique form of Neoprene, although further advanced polymer foam technologies are under development.
Neoprene (a synthetic rubber) demonstrates superior tensile strength and elasticity, offering significant advantages over plastic foam materials and making Stomatex® ideal for close-contour applications where body movement must remain unhindered.
How does Stomatex® work?
Stomatex® uses a pattern of dome-shaped vapour chambers, each with a tiny pore in the centre. While resting, excess body heat and perspiration rise into the dome-shaped chambers and exit through the tiny pores at a controlled rate. The chambers flex and stretch with each movement of the body, causing excess heat and perspiration to be pumped out of the small pores.
This allows cooler, drier air to enter from the outside. The unique pumping action of the vapour chambers increases and decreases with the user’s level of physical activity. Stomatex® is truly unique, as it is the only material that can maintain a perfect microclimate between the skin and the fabric at any level of physical activity, allowing it to be worn for long periods of time without overheating.
What is Stomatex® made from?
Stomatex® is made from thermo-insulating closed-cell foam materials such as Neoprene. It is used in the manufacture of garments and appliances where warmth and/or support may be a deciding factor, but where comfort may be compromised by the unacceptable build-up of heat and perspiration in traditional closed-cell foam materials.
What are the benefits of Stomatex®?
By imitating the process of transpiration used by leaves, Stomatex® is able to overcome the problems of perspiration and over-heating traditionally associated with the use of closed-cell foam materials such as Neoprene. It can therefore ensure that body heat, blood flow and compression remain consistent during a wide range of activities.
Reflecting the rate of physical activity, the chambers create a self contained microclimate, allowing cooler, drier air to pass through at a controlled rate to keep the skin free of perspiration and maintain an ideal skin temperature over an extended period of time.
What are Stomatex® advantages over ventilated Neoprene?
Neoprene which has holes punched through it has been employed in many applications over the years, primarily because until now there has been no better alternative. While it has disadvantages over traditional Neoprene in certain circumstances, the size and formation of the holes significantly reduce the insulation value resulting in condensation of sweat and cooling of the skin. It also causes significant changes in the materials compressive and elastic qualities.
What are the advanced physics behind Stomatex®?
Stomatex® replicates the way in which a plants stomata transpires and passes vapour from inside the leaf into the atmosphere. Likewise, trapped vapour molecules are efficiently removed from beneath the fabric by the flexing action of minute dome-shaped chambers, each with a tiny pore centered within the body of the material. Stomatex® technology is based on the laws of thermodynamics and diffusion—that heat will always transfer from a region of high temperature to a region of low temperature and that, in an attempt to regain equilibrium, water vapour will tend to move from a region of higher density to a region of lower density.
The unique design of Stomatex® vapour chambers provide the conditions to establish a steep diffusion gradient at the pore exit. The efficiency of this configuration allows maximum vapour extraction whilst minimising the loss of heat. To facilitate this process, it is essential to provide an air space (the chamber) into which the excess fluid can evaporate and collect as vapour.
In optimum conditions the ratio of surface area available to collect the water vapour (at skin surface) to the area of the exit pore must be determined so as to allow the existence of constant back pressure within the system. If this is not observed, excessive convection will result in uncontrolled loss of heat.
This process is aided by the users movements in two ways. Firstly, as air movement across the pore aperture increases (outer surface), the removal of vapour-laden air and its replacement by relatively dry air results in an increased rate of diffusion. Secondly, the natural movement and flexing of the fabric, particularly in the dome region, assists the removal of water vapour by a ‘pumping’ action. This action increases with higher levels of physical activity, enabling the fabric to regulate its performance to match the production of perspiration by the user.
Why is Stomatex® Superior to Neoprene?
Stomatex® is truly unique, as it is the only material that can maintain a perfect microclimate (allows the body to exercise at the ideal temperature) between the skin and the fabric at any level of physical activity, allowing it to be worn for long periods of time without overheating.