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Determination of the ultraviolet protection factor of textile materials:measurement precision

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There is much interest in the use of textiles for sun protection. In vitro test methods are frequently used to assess the degree of protection to solar ultraviolet radiation of textile materials. It is, however, of paramount importance that methods are clearly described and that the precision of these methods is determined such that comparison between laboratories can be performed. An in vitro method for the determination of the Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is described in a new European Standard and is referred to as prEN 13758. Thirty experts from 11 European member states, forming a working group of the European Standardization Commission (CEN), have developed this method in consensus. In this paper the reliability of this test method for the determination of the UPF of textiles worn in close proximity to the skin and in a relaxed and dry state is studied. Methods:

For the determination of the precision of the test method, eight laboratories, using nine different measuring devices located in five different countries, have measured 14 textile materials of various types of construction and levels of UVR protection. Statistical analysis of the results has been performed according to ISO 5725. Results:

The repeatability standard deviation of the described method is independent of the UPF in the range 1–70 and is 1.36. The reproducibility standard deviation, however, clearly increases with the level of UPF. Conclusions:

For high UPF values, differences between laboratories, due to factors such as different operators, equipment and calibration, can become important. This makes classification of high UPF materials questionable.

Keywords: UV protection; measurement precision; spectrophotometry; textiles

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centexbel – Scientific and Technical Centre of Belgian Textile Industry, Zwijnaarde, Belgium 2: Department of Dermatology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany 3: NRPB, Chilton, Oxon, UK 4: Sympatex Technology GmbH, Wuppertal, Germany 5: Institut Textile de France, Ecully, France 6: Ciba Specialty Chemicals Inc., Basel, Switzerland 7: Forschungsinstitut Hohenstein, Bönnigheim, Germany 8: EMPA, St. Gallen, Switzerland

Publication date: October 1, 2001


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