Regenerated bamboo, also known as bamboo viscose, is a man-made cellulose fibre that has recently appeared on the market as an apparel and home-furnishing textile. The products are marketed as having exceptional properties such as superior comfort and hand, as well as antimicrobial properties. Apart from the claimed “cool feeling”, the comfort properties referred to in the promotion of bamboo viscose fabrics can generally be ascribed to most cellulose fibres or fabrics. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the moisture management and thermo-physiological properties of regenerated bamboo fabrics differ significantly from those of cotton and viscose rayon fabrics. A knitted regenerated bamboo fabric was compared to cotton and viscose rayon fabrics of comparable construction by using the results of objective measurements. Test apparatus used included the WALTERTM sweating manikin to measure thermal resistance, water vapour permeability, water absorbency and the moisture permeability index, the ALAMBETA instrument to measure thermal resistance and absorption and the PERMETEST instrument to measure water vapour permeability. To compare the structure of the regenerated bamboo fibre with that of cotton and viscose rayon fibres, the longitudinal character and cross-section of fibres were studied using scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
Results confirmed that regenerated bamboo fibre fabrics have excellent moisture and temperature management properties. Contrary to the expectations created, however, no empirical evidence was found in this study, when properties pertaining to comfort were compared, to confirm that regenerated bamboo fibre fabrics are superior to those made of cotton and viscose rayon.