Psychophysical Measurement of Wet and Clingy Sensation of Fabrics by the Volar Forearm Test

K. P.M. Tang, Chi Wai Kan, J. T. Fan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Wet and clingy sensation caused by fabric is activated by thermoreceptors and mechanoreceptors and is critical to wearers' thermophysiological and tactile comfort. This study aims at quantifying the absolute threshold for wet and clingy sensation of apparel fabrics using a psychophysical approach and measuring the residual moisture left on skin through a physical approach. A volar forearm test is proposed where water supply and controlled fabric movement are used to simulate sweating and body movement during wear. The results show that the volar forearm test has good within-judge reliability, between-judge consistency and high sensitivity. The difference in absolute threshold of wet and clingy sensation of fabrics can be attributed to the difference in wicking rate, evaporation rate, geometry and thermal properties of fabrics. The results further suggest that a clingy sensation is triggered when the residual water accumulated on the skin exceeds 0.013 gram, given that the covering fabric is water absorbent. Besides, the absolute threshold for wet and clingy sensation was found strongly correlated with the instrumentally measured water absorption capacity of the fabric. Furthermore, results obtained by the psychophysical threshold method were compared with the psychological wetness rating scale method, and the former was found to be advantageous in terms of testing sensitivity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-347
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Sensory Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Absolute threshold
  • Clingy sensation
  • Fabric
  • Psychophysical
  • Stevens' power law
  • Wet sensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Sensory Systems


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