Category Archives: sweat

Larger Formats Abound!

By Rebecca Smith

Seen here posing with our new Artificial Perspiration carboys![/caption]Pickering Laboratories has again increased our Product Testing Solutions offerings to provide even more options and savings to our customers!  As our products continue to gain in popularity, we are increasingly getting requests for larger volume bottles and bulk purchases.

David Mazawa, Technical Support Chemist for Pickering Labs. Seen here posing with our new Artificial Perspiration carboys!
David Mazawa, Technical Support Chemist for Pickering Labs. Seen here posing with our new Artificial Perspiration carboys![/caption]

Larger sized bottles are now available of our new Artificial Sebum, giving customers the choice to purchase as 25 grams or 200 grams per bottle.  The new 200g bottles, part number 1700-0702, will provide significant savings over purchasing large amounts of Artificial Sebum in the smaller bottles (part number 1700-0700).  This product is available off the shelf, as inventory permits.

Our AATCC Test Method 15 Artificial Perspiration is a very popular formulation, particularly as the stabilized version with two years shelf life.  We currently offer this stabilized formulation in our standard 200mL bottles (part number 1700-0015), and as a case of 4 x 950mL bottles with part number 1700-0541 for larger volume users. 

It is with much excitement that we now offer the ability to order stabilized AATCC Test Method 15 Artificial Perspiration in even larger volumes!  By purchasing one of our new 19.8L carboys, our customers can save significantly on their large volume purchases.  Carboys of AATCC Test Method 15 stabilized sweat, part number 1700-0555, are available now as a made-to-order product.

These carboys, which hold almost 20 liters in a single container, are available for any customer wishing to purchase stabilized artificial perspiration in bulk volumes.  Please contact for more information on bulk volumes of your artificial perspiration formulation of choice.

New Pickering Test Solutions products:

1700-0702            Artificial Sebum, 200g

1700-0555            AATCC Test Method 15 Artificial Perspiration, stabilized, 19.8L

Also feel free to visit our webpage at for more information.  Thanks!



Sweat, a History of and New Products Coming

sweatThe Evolution of Artificial Perspiration, Pickering-Style
By Rebecca Smith

Our employees’ favorite response to the standard “what do you do?” question plays into the novelty of some of our lesser known products:  “We make artificial sweat!” 

Coming from a traditional chromatography background (with over 30 years of reputation as the “post-column people”), it has always been a fun conversation starter, not to mention a great way to illustrate exactly how unique Pickering Labs is. 

Pickering was initially approached by the forensics industry.  Our first sweat customer, Crime Sciences Inc., inquired into the possibility of an artificial perspiration solution that would mimic a human fingerprint.  The goal was to provide a control for the fingerprinting tests used by forensic investigators.   Intrigued by the possibilities, Michael Pickering jumped on the opportunity. He began researching the chemical composition of actual human eccrine sweat.  As a result, our artificial perspiration is the only formulation standardized to be used across all industries as it mimics true human sweat and does not rely on any one desired testing result. 

After adding artificial perspiration to our catalog, we spent several years selling a bottle here and there.  Other than the catalog and webpage, we weren’t really focusing in on ‘sweat’ as a product line.  Beginning in 2011, our sweat sales unexpectedly began to take off.  We also started getting an increased number of inquiries for industry-specific artificial perspirations, with specific components designed to test one particular trait of the product.  It appeared that the time had come to expand our sweat offerings!

Today, we offer about ten different formulations of artificial perspiration (in addition to five artificial saliva formulations and three urines).  We make numerous proprietary custom formulations for our customers as well.  We have also expanded our offerings to include the ability to modify the pH or stabilization of any sweat formulation to suit specific needs a customer might have. 

Pickering continues to see increasing sales of our very popular artificial eccrine perspiration.  To accommodate growing use and facilitate larger orders, we have even begun selling our stabilized eccrine perspiration in larger bottles!  Now a customer can choose the best fit for them – 5mL, 200mL (most popular), and now 950mL. 

The unique qualities of Pickering Labs that make us so responsive to customer needs continue to thrive.  And now with our expanded product testing offerings, we are starting to be known not just as the “post-column people,” but also be recognized as “those people that make sweat” too!

It’s been a fun ride so far.  And our primary source of advertising continues to be word of mouth, so feel free to bring us up the next time you’re looking for a conversation starter!

Artificial Perspiration Buyers Guide

pt-home-image-2By David Mazawa

How do I choose the artificial perspiration that’s right for me?

Makers of smart watches, high performance textiles, biosensors, heads up displays, and fitness monitors all have one thing in common – the need to test their products for quality assurance. Personal electronics and wearable technology manufacturers perform sweat testing on materials including touch screens, watchbands, keyboards, eyeglasses, and any other product material or surface that would benefit from guaranteed reproducible results with artificial perspiration. By using Pickering Laboratories’ artificial eccrine perspiration, our customers are able to save time and ensure the same repeatable results anywhere, anytime.

Normally,a sweat mimic is prepared at the time of the test according to an industry specific formula. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) describes procedures to test many products in the presence of a sweat mimic. According to Michael Pickering, Founder/Owner of Pickering Laboratories, “we were guided by the multiplicity of such tests to develop an artificial perspiration that can yield reproducible results independent of the test.”

Pickering Artificial Eccrine Perspiration is the closest mimic available to acld--perspiration-grouptual eccrine perspiration, and we prepare two versions. The stabilized version has a preservative which prevents microbial growth and can then be stored at room temperature. The non stabilized version has no preservative and must be kept frozen until you intend to use it. You may need this version if you are testing a product that claims to prevent microbial growth or odor from perspiration. Our Artificial Eccrine Perspiration normally comes at pH 4.5, however, we can make it custom from pH 3.0 – 9.0.

1700-0020 – Sweat, Stabilized 1700-0022 – Sweat, Not Stabilized
1700-0021 – Sweat, custom pH, Stabilized 1700-0023 – Sweat custom pH, Not Stabilized

Are you required to follow a specific testing method? If so, we may already carry the exact artificial perspiration formula for that particular method. If you don’t see it on this list, please contact us with a copy of your method and we will investigate making it for you.

Testing Methods:
ISO 3160
ISO 105-B07
AATCC Test Method 15
ISO 1164
ISO 12870
DN 53160-2
BS EN 1811

Please email us at or call (650) 694-6700 with any questions you may have.

Our Product Testing Solutions products can now also be found on!

David Mazawa
Technical Support Chemist

New! Product Testing Solutions

Pickering Laboratories Launches Product Testing Website

Building on the history of providing chemistry to the clinical and environmental market Pickering Laboratories has developed a line of Artificial Body Fluids for the Product Testing market.

Manufacturers of consumer and medical products test for compatibility with human fluids for safety as well as durability.  Multiple standard organizations specify the composition of these artificial body fluids for effective testing protocols. Pickering Laboratories developed the artificial perspiration, saliva and urine to these specifications for reliable and consistent product testing regimes.ld--perspiration-group

In 2009 Pickering Laboratories started offering artificial Perspiration at the request of Crime Science Incorporated a distributor of Law enforcement products. They wanted to provide an artificial perspiration product used as a control for finger print analysis called SwetCheck. Since then products as diverse as credit cards, textiles, eye glasses, guitar strings, electronics, cosmetics and more have requested the official specified solutions for their product testing needs. We continue to develop additional new solutions to requested standards

To better serve this market Pickering Laboratories is launching a website specifically for product testing solutions:

Product testing solutions are manufactured to official standards of ASTM, ACCTC, ISO, DIN as well as offering the most complete artificial perspiration available on the market today.

Wicking – Don’t Sweat It

A Study of the Effect of Perspiration, Laundering, and Abrasion on Polyester Performance Fabric

By Tony Kedzierski


The purpose of this project was to determine if abrasion, perspiration, and laundering had an effect on the wicking ability of performance fabric.  Wicking is the ability of fabric to move sweat away from the skin.  It keeps athletes cool and dry during competition, helping them regulate their body temperature.   Wicking depends on a fabric’s capillary action.  Capillary tubes are areas found within the weave of material.  Larger tubes will wick faster; narrow tubes will wick slowly.  Longer tubes will wick farther; shorter tubes will wick a shorter distance.

A Vertical Wicking Apparatus was used to test these variables.  The distance distilled water traveled up each sample was measured.  Averages were compared to results of testing on untreated control samples.  All three variables wicked farther than control samples.  Viewed under a microscope, abraded fabric showed capillary tubes had gotten wider and narrower.  Fibers had been broken, blocking tubes and making flow uneven or impossible.  Dried perspiration left mineral build-up that slowed capillary flow.  Surfactants in the laundry detergent reduced surface tension of the water, allowing it to spread further.  Perhaps a finish had been applied to control samples, causing them to wick less than treated samples.

Knowing what variables affect the wicking ability of athletic wear can help athletes better prepare for competition.  Abrasion will cause performance fabric to behave differently each time it is worn as weave and capillary tubes change.  Proper washing to remove sweat is equally important. Understanding wicking properties of performance fabric gives athletes an edge.

Conclusions: Control Sample

The original hypothesis stated that, over time, exposure to abrasion would negatively affect polyester performance fabric’s ability to wick.  The hypothesis was based on the understanding and importance of capillary flow in a fabric’s ability to move liquid along its surface.  Because capillary flow must happen in capillary tubes that provide a continuous and uninterrupted flow of liquid, any break in the flow, such as those caused by abrasion of the fabric, might slow or halt the flow.  It was also assumed that as the fabric was abraded, the weave of the fabric would stretch and loosen, creating larger capillary tubes that would wick moisture quickly but at a shorter distance.  The data collected, however, did not support the hypothesis.  In fact, the opposite occurred.

After 30 minutes, the control samples wicked the water an average of 8.1 centimeters.  The abraded samples wicked an average of 10.2 centimeters after 30 minutes.  This is a difference of 2.1 centimeters.  While polyester is made to be highly resistant to abrasion, it is not completely resistant to wear that might come from normal use, such as laundering and wearing while playing sports.  There was visible evidence of wear on the abraded fabric strips.  The edges were frayed and the fabric no longer felt smooth like the other samples tested.  Despite the noticeable wear on the tested fabric, wicking was not impacted.  In fact, abrasion resulted in a 26% increase in the wicking ability of the samples tested.  Because wicking continued to occur between the 10 and 30 minute intervals, perhaps 30 minutes was not a long enough testing time for the fabric to wick to its peak distance and maximize its capillary effect.

Like abrasion, perspiration had a positive effect on the performance fabric’s ability to wick when compared to the control samples.  After 30 minutes, the control samples averaged 8.1 centimeters of wicking distance. The perspiration samples wicked, on average, 10.3 centimeters of wicking distance.  This is a difference of 2.2 centimeters, or an increase of 27% wicking capability.  As the perspiration dried on the fabric strips,Perspiration Sample the water portion of the perspiration evaporated leaving the mineral solids on the fabric. There was even visible evidence of the build-up of solids on the fabric because there was a dark line at the top of the fabric’s wicking peak.  The mineral left on the fabric might have affected the wicking capability by clogging or narrowing the capillary tubes in the fabric.

Like abrasion and perspiration, laundering improved the polyester ‘s ability to wick.  The control samples averaged a wicking distance of 8.1 centimeters. The laundering samples averaged a wicking distance of 18.8 centimeters after 30 minutes. This is an improvement of 10.7 centimeters, or 132% increase of wicking capability.  Perhaps, surfactants, surface active agents, in the detergent caused the wicking ability to improve.  Surfactants reduce surface tension of waterLaundering Sample and allow it to spread further across material during laundering.  These surfactants might have helped the distilled water move further along the surface of the fabric during testing.

After the 15th trial, treated fabric samples were examined under a 130X microscope camera.  The pictures of the abraded fabric showed that some of the capillary tubes became narrow while others were larger.  This variation in the weave creates inconsistency in the wicking rate across the fabric.  In addition, abrasion creates differences in wicking performance each time the fabric is worn, as rubbing will occur with regular wear and laundering.  Abrasion SampleThe pictures also showed fraying and breaking of fibers in the abraded fabric.  This would also contribute to uneven wicking.  The pictures of the samples soaked in perspiration showed a build-up of minerals on the fabric that could clog the capillary tubes, giving the appearance of a dull white crust on the material.  The pictures of the laundered samples showed little difference when compared to the control sample.

It is unclear why the untreated control samples wicked less than the samples treated with perspiration, abrasion, and laundering.   One possible explanation is that there was a finish applied to the performance fabric before it was shipped out to stores.  A finish is something that can be applied to fabric during or after manufacture to enhance the way it feels, looks, or performs.  These finishes can create a fabric that more easily releases soil, is waterproof, fire retardant, odor-resistant, and even softer.  Because there was no labeling of the test fabric indicating that it was any more than a wicking fabric, was the finish one that was applied so it had a better appearance in retail stores?  Did the abrasion rub a finish off that was applied after manufacture?  Did the perspiration dilute the finish?  Did the laundering wash it off?  Finally, had more time been added to the wicking trials in this study, would the results have been different?  Would extra time have allowed the untreated control, perspiration, laundering, and abrasion samples to maximize their capillary effect and reach an equal wicking distance?


Editor’s Note:
The above experiment design, text and photos were copied (with permission) verbatim from a report received from Tony. We were so excited that Tony won so many awards with his project, that we just had to share with our readers.  Pickering Laboratories supplied only the Aritificial Persipration; Tony is not related to Pickering in any way. In April, 2013, Tony sent us the following letter:


Dear Ms. George,

My name is Tony Kedzierski.  Several months ago you very generously sent me two bottles of  your artificial perspiration for use in my science fair project, WICKING:  Don’t Sweat It:  A Study of the Effect of Perspiration, Laundering, and Abrasion on Polyester Performance Fabric.  I have completed my project and have attached my results and conclusions for you to look at.  Through this project I learned a lot about the effects of everyday wear and use on performance fabric, as well as the importance of capillarity on this fabric’s ability to wick and keep an athlete dry and comfortable.

In our school district’s science fair (Sci://Tech Exposition), I placed 2nd in the 7th grade
chemistry division.  At the regional science fair (Science and Engineering Fair of Houston) I placed first in the junior division for 7th and 8th graders.  In addition, I received the Naval
Science Award from the Office of Naval Research, the Most Outstanding Exhibit in Materials Science Award from The ASM Materials Education Foundation, and the Award of Excellence from The Krishen Foundation for Arts and Sciences.  Last week, I went to San Antonio, Texas for the Exxon Mobil Texas Science and Engineering Fair.  There I placed first in the chemistry division and was nominated to participate in the Broadcom MASTERS national science, technology, engineering, and math competition for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.

While International Science and Engineering Fair rules did not permit me to acknowledge
Pickering Laboratories on my science fair display board, I was able to mention Pickering
Laboratories Artificial Eccrine Sweat in my materials list/research plan and in the protocol
papers submitted prior to each science fair.  Without your generous contribution I do not think my project would have been possible, so I thank you so much for supporting me.

Tony Kedzierski

We’re so glad we could help! Congratulations, Tony! And Best of Luck for the future!

Pickering Laboratories in 2013

By Wendy Rasmussen

In recent years, we have released several new products and applications, and with still more on the horizon, it occurred to me that now would be a great time to summarize the Pickering of today – our mindset and our wide variety of products & applications.

Acai Berries
Acai Berries

No longer are we simply the “Post-Column Company”. We are the “Automated-Sample Antioxidants” company.  Think of us as the new “super fruit.” The Acai berry, or perhaps the new Chia Seeds (incidentally, we do have a post-column application for the identification & quantitation of  Antioxidants in a variety of matrices).

We are still very active, and we as a company plan to be here for many years to come. We are still the company founded on chemistry and a desire to to teach, to spread our technical expertise, to support our customers.

It’s been a few years now since Pickering began distributing and supporting our LCTech Product line.  The products have shown an ever increasing interest here in the US and in Canada (our official Sales Territory for this product line). We are very proud to offer these products and we hope we can develop it further in the future.

Historically, we have provided the back-end of an analysis (post-column derivatization). Nowadays, we can provide the front-end of analysis as well (the sample-cleanup).

In thinking about our product offerings, I realized that a simple list does not effectively show the scope of the products we have to offer in 2013 – primarily because we have a lot of overlap between products and product lines.  We’re not a vertical company in that regard.  I suppose one could say our product offerings are more circular in that many do not fall into a single distinct category.  I am a very visual person, and for me, a Venn diagram and our overall “product scale” really helped to understand and clarify our products:

Venn Diagram of Pickering Laboratories
Venn Diagram of Pickering Laboratories
General "Product Scale" for Pickering Offerings
General “Product Scale” for Pickering Offerings
For those of who like lists, you can find one Here, on Pickering’s website, and on LCTech’s Website

For any Questions, please feel free to contact us:

Pickering Laboratories, Inc.
Mountain View, California
Phone: (direct) 650-694-6700 or (toll-free) 800-654-3330


Image of Acai Berries: