Hello pop-pickers, I think I mentioned before that I play badminton quite a lot, especially at lunchtimes and regularly make lovely sweat angels(TM), but as well as that I’m an avid practitioner of science, manipulating the very fabric of life itself to my own ends and ignoring the warnings of impending doom from my attractive young girlfriend (or was that Frankenstein, I forget sometimes).

Well, as you can imagine, I’m always looking for ways to bring my two hobbies, nay obsessions, together, here’s an example:

I recently changed the t-shirt I wear to play badminton to one with a print in the centre. After playing and getting especially sweaty (un-airconditioned warehouse at around 32°C) I go back to the air conditioned office and my clothes dry out in no time at all. I noticed a white scum-mark around the print which had me confused:

t-shirt-science

White scum mark, licking point circled in red

So, I’d already come up with a hypothesis, the sweat behind the print can’t evaporate so easily as the rest of the t-shirt so as the t-shirt dries the sweat from behind the print is wicked across the fabric and evaporates at the point where you can see the white marks. Actually the whole t-shirt is covered with white mark but due to the wicking effect it’s more concentrated at the ring around the print.

There’s only one thing left to do, which is to identify the white stuff with a quick lick, I picked the densest point to make sure I could taste it (see the red circle in the image above).

Any ideas? Washing powder? Degraded glue from the back of the print?

No, it’s salt from the sweat!

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