A fabric option that successfully bridges the gap between natural fibers and synthetics has been given the go-ahead for sporting applications. Independent laboratory testing by the globally respected Hohenstein Research Institute is said to have demonstrated that plaited NatureWorks/cotton fabric performs better than plaited polyester/cotton fabric. The results of the testing concluded that wearers of NatureWorks/cotton fabric will experience improved physiological comfort versus Polyester/cotton faced fabric.NatureWorks fiber is a new material made entirely from annually renewable resources, such as corn. Developed by Cargill Dow these fibers are claimed to feature the comfort and feel of natural fibers while performing as well or better than synthetics."Cargill Dow has developed a natural fabric alternative that competes with traditional fibers in feel, comfort, cost and performance," said Jim Lunt, director of fibers product development. "The testing reaffirms NatureWorks fiber is a valuable addition to the evolving fibers market, notably in active wear."While the NatureWorks fiber has applications in a variety of fiber and nonwoven products, the Hohenstein testing focused on sporting and active wear conditions. In sporting applications the fiber's inherent benefits are said to focus on increased breathability, water vapor absorbency, and overall comfort - all key selling points with consumers.Tests carried out by Hohenstein included measurements of water vapor resistance, short time water vapor absorbency, buffering capacity, thermal insulation, and sensorial wear comfort. The results of these tests were used to determine the total wear comfort using a predictive model. NatureWorks/cotton performed better than Polyester/cotton in four of the skin modeling tests, and in two out of the three sensorial tests. The remaining tests found the two fabrics to perform equally well. Additional details from the Hohenstien tests can be found on Cargill Dow's Web site at