Proven quality: textile tests for professionals

In this post we’re having an in-depth rundown through some of the tests FR-One fabrics undergo in our search for the highest quality textiles. Read on to discover exactly what these tests are and what your fabric’s test results mean.…

Proven quality: textile tests for professionals

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In this post we’re having an in-depth rundown through some of the tests FR-One fabrics undergo in our search for the highest quality textiles. Read on to discover exactly what these tests are and what your fabric’s test results mean.

When you are selecting something, you naturally want to know that it will stand up to use.

The same is true of fabrics.

Before making an investment in textiles, make sure that your prospective fabrics have undergone a variety of tests.

This will ensure that your fabrics will not only perform well at the beginning of their use, but that their quality will stand the test of time.

The tests we’re looking at today are:

1. Fabric rub counts, and the Martindale and Wyzenbeek tests

2. All about fabric pilling tests

3. Washing tests: colourfastness, fibre stability, shrinkage, aspect change

4. Light fastness in textiles

Not for the faint hearted.

What is a fabric rub count?
‘Rub counts’: this is a phrase that you’ll hear time and again in the fabric industry, especially if you’re dealing with upholstery.

It’s all too easy to grow hazy on what exactly ‘rub counts’ are, never mind how many of them are acceptable and for what grade of usage.

A ‘rub count’ is the amount of rubs a fabric can withstand before it starts to deteriorate. Rubbing tests (such as with the Martindale test) are carried out in machines that rub the fabric repeatedly for set amounts of time.

HOW IT WORKS: Inside the Martindale machine, a fabric sample is rubbed repeatedly by a small disc of worsted wool or wire in a figure-of-eight pattern while being assessed by engineers at certain intervals.

FR-One’s standard classifications for Martindale rubs are:

Light domestic use is recommended at 15.000 rubs

General domestic use is recommended e at 20.000 rubs

Heavy domestic use is recommended at 30.000 rubs

Heavy contract use is recommended at 40.000 rubs: this is the FR-One standard.

A note on the Wyzenbeek test
The Wyzenbeek test (ASTM D4157) is mostly used in North America. Success in the Wyzenbeek test does not automatically equate to success in the Martindale test.

An important thing to keep in mind here: the Martindale test is no better or worse than the Wyzenbeek test.

It’s just a different test, in that with the Martindale test the fabric is tested under an oscillating disc in a figure-of-eight pattern, rather than just a back and forth oscillation (which is the Wyzenbeek test).

Read all about the Wyzenbeek testing on the site of independent laboratory, Labotex.

All about fabric pilling tests
Pilling is a particularly destructive form of wear-and-tear on fabrics that results in what some people call a ‘bobble’: a small ball of fibres that forms on a piece of fabric due to heavy use. You see this very often in clothing fabrics, such as jumpers or cardigans that see continuous use.

HOW IT WORKS: Fabric pilling tests (ISO 12945-2) take place in the Martindale machine. However, compared to the Martindale test, the machine now rotates its disc in a more compact motion, applying more pressure to a large surface area of fabric.

At intervals of 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 rubs the pilling is observed and assessed by means of a pilling scale (1 to 5).

Our fabrics also undergo a brush pilling test (ASTM D 3511). The procedure is:

1. Fabric specimens are brushed with a nylon brush

2. Then they’re rubbed against each other face-to-face

Samples undergoing a brush pilling test are assessed and graded and given a score, not unlike the pilling test.

Washing tests: colourfastness, fibre stability, shrinkage, aspect change
Water tests estimate the damage that (prolonged) exposure to moisture can do to fabrics.

These specifically include colourfast tests, ironing and washing tests and tests for dry-cleaning as well.

Properties like colourfastness are very important to study from different angles: your fabric might hold its colour well under a washing test, for example, but that doesn’t mean it’ll hold up under a rubbing test…which is why you need both.

HOW IT WORKS: First, textile engineers measure the testing fabric in both the warp and weft directions.

The fabric is measured again after washing. This washing and measurement takes place at a sliding temperature scale range.

After washing and drying, the colour of the fabric is evaluated using the grey scale (grade 1 to 5) to see if it’s changed in any way. The fabric is also re-measured to check if any shrinkage has occurred, or if the fabric’s original look has changed at all.

All new 2018 FR-One collections stand up to washing at at 71⁰C (160°F).

This high temperature is the American Hospital Washing Standard (AATCC96), because after all, the best way to keep interior décor fabrics clean and free of germs is by washing at a temperature high enough to remove allergens and kill any bacteria that may be present.

Source: https://blog.fr-one.com/en/2018/11/proven-quality-textile-tests-for-professionals

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