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During daily oral health care, dental surgeons are in contact with numerous potentially infectious germs from patients’ saliva and blood. Appropriate personal protection equipment should be chosen to mitigate these risks, but the garment must also be comfortable and not hamper activities. This paper presents our research work on optimised working clothing for dentists and discusses some important points in the functional design. Following a consumer study on how users wear the garment and what are their expectations, three main functions were investigated: protection, ergonomics and thermal comfort. Aesthetic appearance was also taken into consideration as it is necessary that the wearer should feel appropriately and attractively dressed in the context of health care. Concerning protection, spray tests in real conditions helped us to localise the potential contamination areas on the garment and led us to select a three-layered material that is protective and breathable enough. However, this part of the garments made from these fabrics exhibited low thermal comfort and the wearer felt some discomfort. In terms of ergonomics, instrumented garments were worn and pressure measurements were taken. The results highlight that a special shape and raglan sleeves should be selected for a better dynamic comfort. Concerning thermal comfort, an infrared camera was used to detect warm zones of the garment where heat and moisture transfers should be enhanced. Breathable, stretchable and shape-retaining knitted fabric that is usually used for sportswear was selected. These fabrics were strategically placed as low and high vents to promote a chimney effect, which minimises retention of heat and humidity inside the garment. The usual PES/cotton fabric was selected for the rest of the gown. Based on these results, a new gown has been proposed. Through fitting tests conducted in a hospital on 25 dentists, it was revealed that the new design was highly appreciated, particularly on the ergonomic structure of the sleeves and thermal comfort of breathable zones. However, some points can be further improved, such as durability of the PES/cotton fabric, the neck length or the shape of ‘breathable zones’. The final product will be produced based on necessary improvements.
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