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Hohenstein Tests High-tech Swimsuit Prototype

The Hohenstein Institute, Germany, has completed initial testing on a high-tech swimsuit prototype developed by Sarah Ziem, a student at the University of Reutlingen, Germany. The swimsuit fabric is an ultra-lightweight textile material coated with a nano-sol super-hydrophobic coating in which microbubbles trapped between the fibers create an ultra-thin air cushion that allows the swimmer to glide through the water. The institute reports the technology mimics the natural waterproofness of the feathers of penguins, and substantially complies with strict regulations passed by the International Swimming Federation in 2009 in response to concerns about an unusually large number of records broken by swimmers wearing certain high-tech swimsuits in 2008-09 competitions.

Ziem developed the swimsuit as part of her bachelor's degree dissertation under the supervision of Dr. Walter Marx, Reutlingen. She also received support from Dr. Jan Beringer, Hohenstein Institute; textile chemicals manufacturer CHT R. Beitlich GmbH, Germany; and performance fabric manufacturer Mectex S.p.A., Italy.

The coating will be further refined prior to the swimsuit's market debut.

May/June 2011