Wool Properties

Woolpower® is made for work, sports and recreation. The garments satisfy high demands on protection, comfort, ease of wear and durability. The product range features sweaters, pants, one-piece suits, jackets, socks, hoods and gloves in many different sizes. Clothes which are worn next to the body have two main functions – to insulate and to create a thermal balance, i.e. to protect from cold and to transport moisture and surplus heat

Wool terry cloth contains up to 80% air, which binds to the kinky fiber. The air forms an insulating layer along the skin and prevents heat from escaping. In addition, the air bound in the terry cloth loops creates a double thermal effect. Woolpower® has the highest insulation level for protection from both heat and cold.

Garments made of Woolpower® are not only warm but also wick moisture from the skin and allow water vapor to pass through the wool fiber – without losing their thermal properties. The ability to wick moisture facilitates heat ventilation during physical activity, keeping the body dry and maintaining the thermal balance. Woolpower® is designed to allow ventilation of surplus heat through an adjustable opening at the neck.

Studies show that the wool fiber’s ability to absorb and neutralize unpleasant odors is far superior to that of other textiles. Through its chemical composition wool can neutralize bodily substances which give rise to unpleasant odors, a considerable advantage when the opportunities for washing are limited. Comparative tests show that wool has absolutely the highest absorption capacity of all fibers.

The properties of the weave and the construction of the garments give Woolpower® a high level of comfort. Sleeves, legs and body sections are tubular knitted in many different diameters for an excellent fit. The absence of side seams and a minimum of flat inseams prevent the garments from chafing.

Sturdy zippers and stretchable cuffs make the garments easy to put on and take off. The elasticity of the knit and the elongated back section of the sweaters prevent the garments from gaping or constricting. Only fine Merino wool is used to make Woolpower®. The field trials we constantly subject our products to show that more than 95% of the study participants find the garments soft and comfortable to wear directly against the body.

Tearing resistance and form retention are tested regularly. In every respect, Woolpower® shows high values in comparison with similar products. This durability is a result of the garments’ seamless tubular knit and the cloth’s blend of synthetic and wool fibers.

Fire Resistance:

In its natural form, wool has a high capacity to insulate from both heat and cold. Woolpower®’s terry knit enhances these beneficial qualities and provides especially good protection from radiated heat. The natural wool fiber has favorable characteristics with regard to fire resistance. When ignited, the Woolpower® cloth carbonizes on the skin surface, while other materials with a predominantly synthetic composition melt and in turn cause severe injuries. Woolpower® is now offered in a collection with permanent fire resistance properties that meet the protection criteria for EN 531 A B2 C1.

EN 531 A B2 C1:
Woolpower®’s fire protection series has been developed to meet the criteria established by the European work environment committees with regard to protective clothing for industrial workers. Garments that satisfy the requirements for EN 531 protect the wearer from brief contact with flame and one or more heat risks.

Code A indicates the garment’s resistance to open flame, code B its protection from convective heat and code C its protection from radiated heat. Woolpower® meets the standard EN 531 A B2 C1.

Today Woolpower® with aramide fiber is available in socks, pants, sweaters, jackets, one-piece suits, hoods and gloves.

Washability is an important aspect of a garment’s function. The wool is superwash-treated at the mill to allow repeated machine washing of the garments in 140 °F without shrinking or losing their insulating capacity. Woolpower® retains its excellent function even after long use and when the opportunities for washing the garment are limited.

Wool - a unique raw material:
Wool was being used in clothing as early as the Stone Age. During the 1900s considerable resources have been invested in development of synthetic fibers with the same favorable qualities as wool, but so far no one has succeeded in copying nature’s own material.

Wool fiber properties:
Wool fibers contain proteins whose chemical structure gives the wool its characteristic elasticity, strength and airiness. The fibers contain a large amount of air, which insulates from both heat and cold. Furthermore, in contact with moisture the proteins in wool fibers release heat. The core of a wool fiber is hydrophilic and absorbs heat radiated from the body in the form of water vapor. The fiber can absorb up to a third of its dry weight without feeling damp.

Wool’s thermal properties and ability to wick moisture make it an unbeatable material in insulating garments. Wool is used in supplementary clothing such as sweaters, hats, gloves and undergarments. Woolpower®, which is worn directly against the skin, is made of a fine Merino wool produced mainly in Australia.

Wool Export:
Most of the wool produced by the world’s sheep is used locally, and less than half goes into commercial products. The global sheep population is estimated at over 1 billion. Australia, with its 125 million sheep, dominates the world market for fine-textured wool. New Zealand, China and the former Soviet Union are other major producers, primarily of coarser wool. In Europe, the U.K. is the largest wool producer. The wool used by Woolpower® comes mainly from Australia and New Zealand.

Fine-textured wool for softness:
The Australians take comfort seriously. The research institute CSIRO tests wool fibers of various dimensions and uses the unit micron, corresponding to 1/1000th of a millimeter, to define the thickness of a fiber. The comfort limit for garments worn against the skin is 28 microns. The finer the fiber, the greater the comfort.

Merino wool has a fiber diameter of 15 to 25 microns and is highly suitable for undergarments. Today, Merino is the most widely demanded wool type on the market. Merino wool is even, matte and fine-textured, qualities that make it easy to spin and provide superior softness.

Fibre diameter determines quality and price:
Throughout the industry a low micron count has become almost synonymous with high quality. Market demand is for increasingly lightweight garments with the highest possible comfort, and buyers will pay up to 20 times more for fine-textured wool than for coarser type.

Woolpower® is made exclusively of fine Merino wool with a fiber diameter of 22 microns. Woolpower® is marked with the Merino symbol – extra fine wool fiber - a guarantee for high quality raw material. In addition, all packages are marked with a micron counter that shows the average fiber diameter in the raw wool.

Fiber diameter may vary:
Wool fibers have varying diameters, even when taken from the same sheep. If more than 3-4 percent of the fibers are coarser than 28 microns, many people will experience discomfort. Although not an exact limit, this is nonetheless known as the ”itch threshold” or comfort limit. 

The fiber diameter represents an average of all fibers. A coarser, lower quality wool yarn with an average diameter of 25 microns may contain a range of 15 to 45 microns, see the diagram at right. In other words, it is important to have both the lowest possible micron count and the smallest possible variation.

For strength, elasticity and fire protection:
Today Woolpower® consists of 2/3 wool and 1/3 synthetic fiber. The fiber composition varies in different parts of the garment for maximum function and comfort. The wool is reinforced with polyamide for greater durability. By combining the most desirable characteristics of wool and synthetic materials we have achieved a virtually ideal blend. 

Polyamide increases the elasticity and pliability of the finished garment.

The cuffs and waistbands of Woolpower® contain the rubber-like synthetic Elastan, a resilient fiber that molds to the body at the same time that it is supple. Today the proportion of elastan is less than 3%. Lycra® is a brand name for the elastan product used in Woolpower®.

In order to meet the European work environment committees’ requirements for personal protective equipment, Woolpower® is now offered in a complete special collection reinforced with aramide fiber, a form of polyamide, to further enhance the material’s fire resistance. The collection features garments which are included in the fire protection series marked with its own sew-in label.

Unique manufacturing method:
Woolpower® is manufactured on advanced, custom-designed tubular knitting machines that give sleeves, legs and body sections, as well as cuffs and waistbands, a seamless construction. For the best possible fit, the various garment sections and sizes are woven individually on knitting machines with varying diameters. The yarn is woven in a loop system to produce a soft and airy terry cloth, a technique that offers high comfort, durability and a minimum of seams.

In order to stabilize the material, the cloth is washed in water. The finished garment may shrink by a maximum of 5%. Using heat and steam, the material is then blocked and crabbed on metal frames and tenters.

Every size and model has a specific length and width. The garment sections are bundled and stamped with metal knives and a warping machine is used to split the tubular knitted pant legs at the crotch.

Flat inseams:
After stamping and cutting, the various garment sections are sewn together with flat inseams, a technique that creates inseams without edges that chafe.

Quality assurance:
Continuous, random testing is carried out at every stage of the manufacturing process to ensure that raw materials, semi-finished and finished products maintain high and consistent quality. Changes in appearance, durability, absorption capacity, insulation and shrinkage are routinely analyzed in the laboratory. The company complies with the regulations for quality assurance according to ISO 9000. 

The various garment sizes and sections are woven individually on different knitting machines with needle beds of varying diameters, giving the garments excellent fit and comfort.