A Complete Guide: Air Permeability Testing


Air permeability is a critical factor in various industries, with textiles being one of the primary areas where this property is essential. The level of air permeability in textiles impacts comfort, breathability, and overall performance. This guide will provide an in-depth understanding of air permeability testing, how to test for it, and the importance of using an Air Permeability Tester for Textiles. Air permeability testing is an indispensable tool for manufacturers and researchers in the textile industry. By employing accurate and efficient Air Permeability Testers for Textiles, they can ensure the quality and performance of their products, meet regulatory requirements, and satisfy consumer demands. Ultimately, understanding and mastering air permeability testing contributes to the ongoing success and innovation of the textile industry.

What is Air Permeability?

Air permeability refers to the ability of a material to allow air to pass through it. This property is crucial in determining the performance and quality of materials in various applications, such as clothing, automotive interiors, and construction materials. The level of air permeability varies according to the material’s structure, thickness, and composition, and it can significantly influence the overall performance and end-use of the material.

Why is Air Permeability Testing Important?

Air permeability testing is vital in several industries for several reasons, such as:

  1. Quality control: Assessing air permeability helps manufacturers ensure that their products meet industry standards and customer expectations. It enables them to maintain consistent quality across different batches of materials.
  2. Product development: Air permeability testing can be used to evaluate and compare the performance of various materials, aiding in the development of new products or improving existing ones.
  3. Regulatory compliance: Many industries have specific air permeability requirements that must be met for safety, health, or performance reasons. Testing enables manufacturers to ensure their materials comply with these regulations.
  4. End-use performance: In textiles, air permeability plays a significant role in determining the material’s breathability, moisture management, and thermal insulation. By testing for air permeability, manufacturers can optimize their materials for specific end-use applications.

How to Test Air Permeability?

Air permeability testing involves measuring the amount of air that can pass through a material under specific conditions. Various test methods exist for this purpose, but the most common one is based on the principle of pressure drop across a material sample.

Here are the steps involved in conducting an air permeability test:

  1. Prepare the material sample: Cut the material to the required size and shape, ensuring that it is free from defects such as holes or tears that could affect the test results.
  2. Choose the appropriate test method: Select the test method that best suits your material and industry requirements. Some of the most common methods include the ASTM D737, ISO 9237, and BS 5636 standards.
  3. Set up the testing equipment: Place the material sample in the air permeability tester, ensuring that it is properly mounted and sealed to prevent air leakage during the test.
  4. Apply pressure: Introduce a controlled air flow through the material sample. This can be done using a fan or other air-moving device, or by creating a pressure difference across the sample using a vacuum or pressure chamber.
  5. Measure the air flow: Use a flowmeter or other measuring device to determine the rate of air flow through the material sample. This should be done under steady-state conditions, meaning that the pressure difference and air flow rate should remain constant throughout the test.
  6. Calculate the air permeability: Divide the air flow rate by the pressure difference across the material sample to obtain the air permeability value. This value is usually expressed in units such as liters per square meter per second (L/m²/s) or cubic feet per minute per square foot (cfm/ft²).
  7. Analyze the results: Compare the test results with industry standards, manufacturer specifications, or other relevant benchmarks to determine whether the material meets the desired air permeability requirements.

This is how to test air permeability.

Using an Air Permeability Tester for Textiles

An Air Permeability Tester for Textiles is a specialized instrument designed to accurately and efficiently measure the air permeability of textile materials. These testers come in various models and configurations, depending on the specific requirements of the test method and material being tested. Some of the key features of an Air Permeability Tester for Textiles include:

  1. Versatility: Modern air permeability testers are designed to accommodate a wide range of materials, including woven, non-woven, and knitted fabrics. They can also be configured to test materials with various thicknesses and structures.
  2. Accuracy: Air permeability testers are equipped with precise pressure and flow control systems to ensure accurate and repeatable test results. Many testers also come with digital displays and automatic data logging capabilities, making it easy to record and analyze test data.
  3. Ease of use: Air permeability testers are generally user-friendly and easy to operate, even for those with limited technical expertise. They often feature intuitive interfaces and clear instructions for mounting and sealing the material sample, setting up the test parameters, and conducting the test.
  4. Compliance with international standards: Air Permeability Testers for Textiles are designed to meet the requirements of various international test standards, such as ASTM D737, ISO 9237, and BS 5636. This ensures that the test results are reliable and widely accepted across different industries and regions.
  5. Customization: Some air permeability testers can be customized to meet specific testing requirements, such as adjusting the test pressure, temperature, or humidity conditions. This allows manufacturers to tailor the testing process to their specific needs and applications.


Air permeability testing plays a crucial role in ensuring the quality, performance, and safety of various materials, especially in the textile industry. By understanding how to test air permeability and using an Air Permeability Tester for Textiles, manufacturers can optimize their materials for specific end-use applications, maintain consistent quality across different batches, and comply with industry regulations and standards. As a result, air permeability testing contributes significantly to the development and production of high-quality, high-performance materials that meet the ever-evolving needs of consumers and industries worldwide.