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Assessment of performance properties of wetsuits
journal contributionposted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Maryam NaebeMaryam Naebe, N Robin, Xungai WangXungai Wang, Paul CollinsPaul Collins
Wetsuits are an integral part of surfing especially in the southern regions of Australia. There is currently little information about mechanical, comfort and thermal properties of wetsuits. There is a demand from wetsuit manufacturers to better understand the neoprene properties and wetsuit performance. The performance characteristics of eight topselling wetsuits, from both high end and low end of the market, were examined. These characteristics include thickness, elasticity, bursting strength, hydrophobicity, thermal conductivity and seal strength. Tensile assessment revealed that neoprene foam was strong and its stretch recovery was well beyond 1.6 times of the original length. Neoprene was found to be hydrophobic with very low surface energy. High-end wetsuits with higher thickness showed slightly higher thermal resistance than low-end wetsuits, indicating that both thickness and bulk density of neoprene influenced thermal properties. High-end wetsuits with fluid seal were stronger than low-end wetsuits with stitched seal.