Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Sleep well! New pillow encasings combine hygiene and sleep comfort

Encasings are most familiar as covers used by allergy sufferers to protect mattresses, pillows and duvets from dust mites.

However, these particletight  covers are also an important hygiene precaution anywhere where bed occupancy changes regularly. Greater use of special pillow encasings would make sense in
hospitals and care homes and also in hotels. The covers are bacteria-proof and, like the pillowcases on top of them, are changed and hygienically washed every time someone new occupies the bed. This ensures that no bacteria can be passed via the pillow from one guest or resident to another.

In the newly developed pillow encasings, bacteria-proof warp-knitted fabrics are combined with special membrane materials.

Alexander Raths ©

Tests in the acoustics laboratory allowed the ideal combination of materials for suppressing irritating noises to be found.

©Hohenstein Institute

Until now, though, there were some real disadvantages to the encasings that were available on the market, on account of the coated membrane inside them: people found them less comfortable to sleep on because of the disturbing rustling noises and the delayed release of air when they moved about. Now, as part of a research project (AIF No. 16947N), scientists at the Hohenstein Institute have developed a new kind of pillow encasing. Firstly, thanks to the use of bacteria-proof warp-knitted fabrics with a special membrane, the noise has been noticeably suppressed. Secondly, they are more breathable than earlier products, i.e. they absorb the sleeper's sweat more effectively and wick it away from his or her head and body.

First of all, the team led by Dr. Jan Beringer analysed all the things for which existing pillow encasings were criticised and then they designed an entirely new and optimised product. The textile researcher is sure that the new pillow encasings will be widely welcomed. "Until now, despite their clear advantages in terms of hygiene, pillow encasings have not been very widely used in this kind of institution.

Weighing up the costs and the benefits often resulted in conventional pillow encasings not being used," says Dr. Beringer. "It's not surprising, because there were lots of complaints about the loud rustling noise, the "airbag effect" caused by delayed release of air and generally disturbed sleep due, for example, to excessive sweating." 

In their research, the scientists paid particular attention to reducing the loud rustling noises which occur right in your ear as you move your head, and so greatly impair your rest or recovery. Considerable noise reduction was achieved by ensuring that the fabrics used were ideally suited to their purpose. The underlying design principle is that a fabric should be chosen that is as fine as possible. In this project, warp-knitted fabrics were used.

The application of a membrane to the underside of the fabric provided the textile technology solution for the hygiene security that was also required. Combining the optimised fabric with the specially chosen membranes as a protective barrier against bacteria ensured that there would be no more disturbing rustling noises when people moved about in bed. In a further step, the researchers optimised the way the warp-knitted fabric and the membrane system were combined, with regard to their effects on thermophysiological comfort (thermal insulation, permeability to water vapour) and skin sensory comfort (softness, suppleness). Finally, they tested how well the textile construction withstood commercial processing conditions. If the newly developed pillow encasings are to be suitable for leasing, it is important that there is no reduction in their performance due to commercial processing. 

The encasings will mainly be effective in improving hygiene conditions where there are frequent changes of occupancy in care homes, especially during short-term or preventive stays. Thanks to encasings, hotel guests can also climb into their hotel beds without worrying about hygiene. For Dr. Beringer and his team, it was a worthwhile exercise: "This pillow encasing, optimised in every respect, is our contribution to improved comfort and hygiene in hospitals, care homes and hotels. It also allows managers to do a great deal to help their patients or guests get a good night's sleep which will, in turn, help them to relax or recover."

Weitere Informationen:

Rose-Marie Riedl | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: construction skin textile warp-knitted fabrics

More articles from Innovative Products:

nachricht New Video Camera Released Featuring Ultra-High-Speed CMOS Image Sensor Developed At Tohoku University
11.08.2015 | Tohoku University

nachricht Safe motorcycle helmets – made of carrot fibers?
06.08.2015 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Innovative Products >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Siemens to supply 126 megawatts to onshore wind power plants in Scotland

27.11.2015 | Press release

Two decades of training students and experts in tracking infectious disease

27.11.2015 | Life Sciences

Coming to a monitor near you: A defect-free, molecule-thick film

27.11.2015 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>