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Fabric Properties and their

relevance in end uses

Broad classification
• Physical properties
• Mechanical properties
• Tactile and visual properties
• Comfort properties
• Chemical Properties
• Solubility
• Dye uptake
• Moisture absorption
• Burning behaviour
Physical Properties

• These may be divided into

 Mechanical deformation and degradation
 Tactile and associated visual properties of fabrics
after their manufacture and use, and their
 Response to heat, liquids and static charge
• They include tensile behavior, compression, bending
or flexing, shrinkage, abrasion resistance, frictional
rubbing, torsion or twisting, and shear.
Mechanical behavior
Tensile Properties
Tensile force
Application of a force so as to create tension in the
specimen to be tested
Other Forces
Compressive force
Bending force
Torsional force
Shear force
• Load -----> gm weight (or gram force)

• Breaking load ---> load at which the specimen breaks

• Stress ------> force/cross sectional area

• For textiles (mass stress) ------> force applied/linear


• Example, Gm wt/tex, gm wt/denier

Tenacity/Specific Stress
• Mass stress at break
• Breaking length-----> length of specimen which will
break under its own weight when hung vertically.
• Unit is kilometer -(RKM)
• Example 100D viscose yarn breaks at a load of 185
g The breaking length is
(185*9000)/(100*1000) = 16.65km
Strength based on weight vs strength
based on volume of various fibres
Breaking length of different materials
• Elongation = change in length (Final-Initial)
• Strain=elongation/initial length
• Extension = strain* 100%
• Breaking extension= extension of the specimen at
breaking point
• Load extension curve – initial Young’s modulus, work
of rapture, yield point
• Stress strain curve- more direct comparison between
different types of materials
Stress strain curves derived from load
extension curves for Viscose and
Stress strain curves for various fibres
Work of rupture
• A measure of toughness
• Energy or work required to break the specimen
• Equal to area under the load Elongation curve
(not stress strain curve)
• Units are force-length (energy)
• Indicates resistance of material to sudden shock
Mechanics of Textile Testing

CRL and CRE principles

• CRL- load is applied at a continuous rate.
• Extension is caused, eventually the sample breaks
• CRE – J4 is moved downwards at a constant velocity
by means of screw mechanism. Initial tension is 0.
• J4 movement downwards causes extension and load
is developed
• CRT- Some movement of upper jaw to operate a load
indicating mechanism
Fabric Strength Testing
• Measurement of tensile stress–
strain properties is the most
common mechanical
measurement on fabrics.
• Fabric samples are clamped in the
jaws of a tensile tester and pulled
apart until they break.
• At least three samples are tested
across the warp and three across
the weft and the average breaking
strength established is expressed
in Newton.
Methods for testing tensile strength
• Three methods have been commonly used to
measure tensile strength:
• Ravelled strip test
• Strip test
• Grab test
Strip test
• There are two types of strip tests:
• the ravelled strip test and the cut strip test.
• In both tests the entire width of the specimen is
gripped in both the upper and lower jaws.

• The raveled strip test is only used for woven fabric

and specimens are prepared by removing threads
from either side of the test piece until it is the correct

• Strip size 2” x 8”---------------2.5” x 12”

• No slippage --- jaw design
• Jaw break----> gripping to be examined
The cut strip test
• The cut strip test is used for fabrics that cannot
have threads removed from their sides such as
knits, non-woven, felts and coated fabrics.

• The test specimens are prepared by accurately

cutting to size.
Grab test
• In the grab test, the width of the jaws is less than
the width of the specimen.
• An example would be for a 100 mm wide specimen
where the centrally mounted jaws are only 25 mm
• This method is used for woven high-density fabrics
and those fabrics with threads not easy to remove
from the edges.
• The grab method is used whenever it is desired to
determine the ‘effective strength’ of the fabric in
Effect of transverse threads on strip test
• (strip strength/no. of threads)/(single thread
strength) >1

• It means ---> the transverse threads have some form

of binding effect on longitudinal yarns.

• In some cases ratio may be as high as 1.8

Fabric assistance in grab test
• Grab test
• Fabric assistance from the side fabric
• (grab test strength)/(tensile strength/inch)
Fabric Tear Strength
• Tearing of a fabric can occur in a wide range of products and is involved in
fatigue and abrasion processes as well as the catastrophic growth of a cut
on application of a force.
• It is the tensile force required to start, continue or propagate a tear in a
fabric under specified conditions
• Important for applications such as army clothing, tenting, sails, umbrellas
and hammocks
• Tear test measures the force required to continue a tear which has already
been started in the fabric.
• A cut is made in a rectangular sample to form two "tongues" and reference
lines are marked to indicate the point the tear is to be continued to.
• One tongue is then placed in the upper jaw of a tensile tester, the other
tongue in the lower jaw, and the two jaws opened to continue the tear to
the reference line.
• Easy tear --> inferior quality
• Threads break individually or in very small groups.
Therefore, single thread strength of the component is of
great importance.
• If yarns can group close to each other, instead of successive
breakage --> more of strength test on plied yarns. Grouping
is made easier if yarns are smooth and can slip over one
• Effect of weave ---> twill or 2/2 matt structure has higher
tear strength than plain weave.
• High set fabrics preclude thread movement and hence
thread grouping is greatly reduced.
• Finishes like C.R finish may reduce tear strength
Again, BS 2543 specifies minimum tear strength for different uses:

Occasional domestic/Light domestic = 15N,

General domestic/Severe domestic = 20N,
Severe contract = 25N
Measurement of tear strength
• Mostly on tensile testers.
• Form of test specimen, securing it on the
jaw, interpretation of test results etc. are
• Most tears in practice occur
suddenly and hence it should be
tested at high speed.
• The 2 ends of the sample are
secured between 2 jaws and then
• Elemendorf tearing tester is one
such instrument.
Elemendorf tearing tester
• Originally designed for paper
• Results can be expressed as:
Tearing force required to
continue the tear.
Tearing energy in g.cm
Bursting Strength
• Multi directional loading
• Example – filter cloths, sacks, nets, parachute
• The pressure in a liquid is exerted in all directions
• Therefore this is used in a hydraulic tester.
• Burst strength testing is the application of a
perpendicular force to a fabric until it ruptures.
• The force is normally applied using either a ball or a
hydraulically expanded diaphragm.
• The fabric is clamped in place around the device that
applies the force by a circular ring.
• The material is stressed in all directions at the same
time regardless of the fabric construction. Ball burst
testing is used as an alternative to tensile testing for
materials that are not easily prepared for tensile
testing or have poor reproducibility when tested in
tensile mode.
• These fabrics include knits, lace, non-woven and felts.
• Sample is placed over a flexible rubber diaphragm D.
• It is expanded by pressurizing water or glycerin.
• The fabric expands and at some point it may fail.
• Since the rubber diaphragm requires certain pressure
to expand it, corrections can be done by doing a blank
The extension= [{(c2+h2)/h}tan-1(h/c)-c]100/c%
Bursting Strength Tester
Other Fabric Properties:
Air permeability
• A large proportion of the total volume occupied by
the fabric is air space
• The distribution of air space----> influences warmth,
protection against wind, rain etc. efficiency of
filtration in industrial cloths
• Vacuum cleaner – air should be allowed to pass but
not the dust.
1. AIR PERMEABILITY- volume of air measured in cc per sec
through 1 cm2 fabric at a pressure of 1 cm of water.

2. AIR RESSISTANCE – time in sec for 1 cc air to pass

through 1 cm2 of fabric under pressure head of 1 cm of

3. AIR POROSIY - - 1. related to Air permeability

2. Ratio of air space to total volume
of fabric expressed in %.

(Air resistance = 1/ air permeability)

Measurement of air permeability
• Air resistance of a multi layered assembly is simply
the sum of the resistance of the individual layers.

R1=0.05-.5 cm3/sec
R2=0.5-3.5 cm3/sec
R3=3-35 cm3/sec
R4=30-150 cm3/sec
Thermal properties of fabrics
• Thermal comfort  core body temp 37oC

• Outside temp  lower or higher than body


• 28-29oC human can feel comfort without clothes

Heat losses
• Conduction  loss by direct contact
(Swimming in cold water)
• Convection  transfer of heat by moving fluid
(liquid or gas, you feel cold when wind is blowing)
• Radiation  can be ignored
• Evaporation  it takes 2424 J (580 calories) to
evaporate one gram of water at body temperature.
Role of textile fabrics
• Provide insulation to maintain heat balance.
• Thermal insulation is important
• Most important factor is air space rather than
conductivity of fibres
• Textiles impose barrier to heat flow by creating air
pocket barriers between fibres, between yarns, at the
surface of fibres etc
• T.I Value = 100(Ho-Hc)/Ho
Ho=heat loss per sec from the uncovered surface
Hc= heat loss per sec from the covered surface

Two plate method

One plate method

Measurement of thermal
• Togmeter  no heat flow measurement
• Thermostatically controlled heat plate
• Heater is adjusted to give a temp at 31-35 deg
cel. at the upper surface of the standard
• A small air flow is maintained
AIR RESISTANCE (Thermal equilibrium – 30 min)
Rair =Rstd x (T2-T3)/(T1-T2)
Sample resistance
=Rsample = Rstd x (T2-T3)/(T1-T2) – Rair
Perspiration is an important mechanism of
losing heat by the body

Forms of perspiration

• Insensible  perspiration is transported as a

vapour, passes through the air gaps between
yarn and fabric

• Liquid  at higher sweating rates, cloth gets

Measurement of vapor
permeability (MVTR)
• The amount of water vapor passing through fabric
surface area of one square meter per 24 hrs

• It is a measure of the ability of a fabric to allow

perspiration in its vapor form to pass through it.

• Low MVTR  sweat accumulation in the clothing

• If the production of vapor is more than the ability of
the cloth to allow passage, it will accumulate.
• This will reduce thermal resistance of clothing and
eventually lead to condensation and wetting.
• Level of perspiration  level of activity
• Once the cloth is wet and activity ceases  after
exercise chill or frost bite may result
Water vapor permeability
• Important for clothing systems meant for vigorous
• Body cools itself by sweat production and
evaporation during periods of high activity
• The clothing should allow the moisture vapor to
pass through without degrading the thermal
insulation of the fabric
Energy costs of activities
Microporous poly(tetrafluoroethylene) (PTFE)
• Very thin films of PTFE (5-15 μm) can be made by
extruding a paste of PTFE dispersion and oils through
a slit die.
• The extrudate is leached to remove the oil and
biaxially stretched. This causes microporous tears or
fibrils in the film.
• Effective pore sizes of 0.1-1 μm
• The material has a very high void volume, but
mechanically weak
• Has to be laminated to textile fabrics to be used for
The water vapour permeability test (cup method)

• The fabric is placed over the mouth of a cup containing water so as to

cover it, and put in a standard atmosphere.
• After some time, successive weighing give the rate of MV transmission.
• A similar test is carried out with standard fabric and a permeability
index for sample can be calculated with reference to the standard.

• The fabric is placed over the mouth of a cup

containing water so as to cover it, and put in a
standard atmosphere.
• After some time, successive weighing give the rate
of MV transmission.
• A similar test is carried out with standard fabric and
a permeability index for sample can be calculated
with reference to the standard.
• Dish has sufficient water to give a 10 mm air gap
between he upper surface and the fabric.
• Sample size –96 mm dia
• Another set up with a reference fabric is made and
both are allowed to stand for 1 hour to reach
• Weighing are made to the nearest 0.001g and time
noted. After a suitable time the dishes are reweighed
and the time is noted again.
Serviceability, Wear and Abrasion

An article which is serviceable is capable of performing useful service.

It becomes unserviceable when it cannot do so

 Unworn garment fading

 As new apparel going out of fashion

 A pair of denims may still be serviceable even if it is torn and


So, it is a relative term (user’s criteria)

• It is net result of number of agencies, which can
reduce the serviceability of an article.

• Example: bending, stretching, tearing, abrasion,

laundering, cleaning.
Rubbing away of component fibres and yarns of the fabric.

• Plane or flat abrasion ( a flat area is abraded)

• Edge abrasion (at collars and folds)

• Flex abrasion (rubbing is accompanied by flexing and bending)

• Abrasion resistance of fabrics is measured in terms of visual

appearance, number of cycles to open a hole in the fabric and
residual strength of the fabric.
Factors responsible..

• Both the fiber material and fabric geometry affect

the abrasion resistance of a fabric.
• Some polymers are intrinsically better abrasion
resistant than others.
• The twist level, yarn crimp and weave design affect
the abrasion resistance of the fabric.
• The amount of fiber and yarn surface that is in
contact with the abradant is important.
The factors that influence abrasion are:

• Fibre type

• The ability of a fibre to withstand repeated distortion

is the key to its abrasion resistance

• Therefore, high elongation, elastic recovery and

work of rupture - more important factors than high
Effect of fibre type..

• Nylon –best

• PET and PP-good

• Acrylic and modacrylic – lower than PET/PP

• Cotton and HWM viscose – lowest

• Blending with PET/Nylon improves abrasion

resistance of wool and cotton
Fibre Properties
Abrasion results in gradual removal of fibres
Therefore, factors affecting cohesion of yarns influence
abrasion resistance.
• Longer fibre ---> better abrasion resistance than shorter
• Filament yarns ---> higher abrasion resistance than staple
fibres of same polymer
• Increasing fibre diameter ---> improves abrasion resistance
up to a limit
• Above that limit ---> bending modulus increases
----> Less fibres and hence lower cohesion
Fabric Stiffness, Handle and Drape
Fabric end use  Industrial, house hold, apparel
• Industrial fabrics  Important aspects-strength,
extension, chemical resistance, creep etc
• Apparel fabrics  less emphasis on mechanical
More important  handle and appearance
These are lustre, smoothness, roughness, stiffness/
limpness, draping behavior etc

Assessed by touch or feel, depends upon subjective

assessment of the fabric by person
Flexural rigidity
• Cantilever stiffness test
• A horizontal strip of the fabric is clamped at one end
and rest of the strip is allowed to hang under its own
Shirley Stiffness Tester
• Specimen size – 25mm x 200 mm
• 3 from warp, 3 from weft
• Conditioning for 24 hours
• 4 readings from each specimen
• Mean bending length of warp and weft are
• It is the ability of the fabric to form graceful folds
when it hangs vertically.
• It has an important bearing on how good a garment
looks in use.
• Knitted fabrics are relatively floppy and knitted
garment tends to follow body contours.
• In comparison, woven fabrics are relatively stiff and
are used when the fabric hangs away from the
body (tends to disguise body contours)
• Though the shear properties play an important role to
some extent, it is mainly governed by bending
• The shadow of deformed fabric is made to fall on an
annular piece of paper with same size as undeformed
• The shadow is traced onto the paper and is cut away.
The measured mass of the fabric will be proportional
to the area of the paper. (Assuming that the paper
has uniform weight / area)
• The stiffer the fabric --- larger the area
Drape test top view of draped fabric.
Side view top view
Crease and wrinkle behavior

• Creasing during use is not a desirable aspect of

• Some fibres crease more than others.
• Wool good resistance to creasing
• Flax very poor resistance to creasing
• Requirement  resistance to creasing and a rapid
recovery from creasing
• Fabric structure also to some extent determines CR.
• Creasing of textile materials is a complex effect which
involves tensile, flexing, compressive and torsional
• The textile extension plays a small part in the elastic
recovery and modulus of elasticity does not indicate
creasability of various fibres.
• The bending elasticity is of greatest importance in the
phenomenon of creasing.
• Creases appear when the material is distorted beyond
its power of elastic recovery.
• Bending of filaments/fibres leads to extension of
fibres on upper surface and compression on the
under surface.
Measurement of crease recovery
• A small fabric specimen is folded and placed under
a load for a given time to form a crease and then
allowed to recover further for some more time and
angle of crease that remains is measured
• Magnitude of crease recovery angle is an indication
of the ability of the fabric to recover from
accidental creasing.
Crease recovery tester