types of Textile lab Testing: Ensuring Quality through Physical & Chemical Performance Tests

From the raw fibers to the final product gracing store shelves, textiles undergo a battery of tests to ensure they meet the stringent industry and safety standards. In our extensive guide, we delve deep into the world of textile testing, shedding light on the critical processes involved in evaluating fabrics for shrinkage, color fastness, and chemical performance.

Textile Shrinkage Test

Objective:

To determine the dimensional stability of woven or knitted fabrics after repeated washing in a household washing machine.

Principle:

Before washing, mark the dimensions on the sample and judge the dimensional changes of the sample by measuring the changes in the markings after washing.

Process:

Choose the washing and drying methods, cycles, and drying times according to the fabric type and customer requirements. Start the washing and drying with the standard detergent and appropriate water level. Finally, obtain the test results.

Physical Performance Test

Main Items:

Yarn count, Density, Gram weight, Tensile strength, Tear strength, Seam slippage, Seam strength, Bursting strength, Abrasion resistance, Pilling and fuzzing resistance, etc.

Basic Content:

Yarn Count:

Indicates the thickness of the yarn. Currently, the majority use the English system of counts, represented by Ne, defined as the length of a pound of cotton yarn at a standard regain of 9.89% being a multiple of 840 yards.

Density:

The number of yarns per inch.

Gram Weight:

The weight in ounces per square yard or the weight in grams per square meter of fabric.

Tensile Strength:

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The force used when a fabric of a certain size is stretched to breakage at a constant rate by a tensile strength machine. The testing methods include the grab method and strip method, chosen based on different testing standards and customer requirements.

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Tear Strength:

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The force measured when a certain size sample is clamped on the tear strength tester, cut in the middle to determine the direction of tearing, and the sample is torn from the cut using a pendulum falling method.

Seam Slippage:

After folding a fabric of a certain size and sewing it widthwise, cutting it a certain distance from the seam, the force used or the distance opened when stretched to a certain seam opening or force by a tensile strength machine is measured as seam slippage. There are two methods: fixed opening force measurement and fixed force opening measurement. The method is chosen based on different testing standards and customer requirements, generally only used for woven fabric testing.

Seam Strength:

Similar to seam slippage, after folding and sewing a fabric of certain dimensions and cutting it at a certain distance from the seam, the force used to break the seam when stretched at a constant rate by a tensile strength machine is measured as seam strength. Seam strength testing can be conducted simultaneously with seam slippage testing and is generally only used for woven fabric testing.

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Bursting Strength:

Under certain conditions, a fabric is subjected to a swelling force at a suitable angle until it ruptures, and this force is termed bursting strength.

How to choose Bursting Strength Tester?

Abrasion Resistance:

The fabric sample is clamped and rubbed against a standard abrasive cloth under a certain pressure along a certain trajectory until the fabric shows the number of yarn breaks or holes required by the customer, recording the number of frictions until the experiment ends, denoting the measured abrasion resistance value.

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Resistance to Pilling and Fuzzing:

The fabric is rolled and rubbed under specific conditions for a certain time, observing the pilling and fuzzing situation on its surface. Pilling refers to the formation of fuzz balls due to tangled fibers standing on the fabric surface. Fuzzing refers to the rough and uneven fibers on the fabric surface, leading to a change in the appearance of the fabric. The pilling and fuzzing are evaluated through rating by sample photos or comparing with the original sample.

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Learn more about the Pilling&Snagging Test Methods

Color Fastness Test

Main items:

Wash Color Fastness

Dry Cleaning Color Fastness

Rubbing Color Fastness

Sunlight Color Fastness

Sweat Stain Color Fastness

Water Stain Color Fastness

Chlorine Bleaching Color Fastness

Non-Chlorine Bleaching Color Fastness

Heat Pressing Color Fastness, etc.

Basic Content:

Wash Color Fastness:

The sample is stitched together with the standard lining fabric, and then washed, cleaned, and dried under appropriate conditions of temperature, alkalinity, bleaching, and friction to get test results in a shorter period of time. The friction is created through a small bath ratio and the rolling and impact of an appropriate number of stainless steel balls. At the end, the color fastness grey cards are used to grade the standard lining fabric and the sample to obtain the test results. Different test methods have different conditions and sample sizes, and specific choices depend on the test standards and customer requirements. Generally, colors with poor wash color fastness are turquoise, bright blue, dark red, navy blue, etc.

Dry Cleaning Color

Fastness: Similar to wash color fastness, but with dry cleaning instead of washing.

Rubbing Color Fastness:

The sample is placed on a color fastness to rubbing tester and rubbed a certain number of times under certain pressure with a standard white rubbing cloth. Both dry and wet rubbing color fastness tests need to be conducted on each set of samples. The color adhered to the standard white cloth is graded with a grey card, and the grade obtained is the measured rubbing color fastness. Both dry and wet rubbing tests need to be conducted, and all colors on the sample need to be rubbed.

Learn more about Color Fastness to Rubbing

Sunlight Color Fastness:

Textiles are usually exposed to light during use. Light can destroy the dye, leading to the well-known “fading”, making the colored textile change color, generally becoming lighter or darker, and in some cases changing the hue. Therefore, sunlight color fastness testing is necessary. In this test, the sample and blue wool standards with different fastness levels are exposed to sunlight under specified conditions. The sample is then compared with the blue wool cloth to determine the light fastness grade; the higher the blue wool standard grade, the higher the light resistance.

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Sweat Stain Color Fastness:

The sample is stitched together with standard lining fabric, treated in sweat solution, then clamped on a sweat stain color fastness tester and kept in a constant temperature oven. Afterwards, the lining fabrics of the sample are dried separately, and then graded with color fastness grey cards to get the test results. Different test methods require different sweat solution ratios, different sample sizes, and different test temperatures and times.

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Water Stain Color Fastness:

Similar to the sweat stain color fastness test but the samples are soaked in water under certain conditions before being clamped on the tester.

Chlorine Bleaching Color Fastness:

The fabric is washed in chlorine bleach solution under specific conditions, and then the degree of color change is assessed. This constitutes the chlorine bleaching color fastness test.

Non-Chlorine Bleaching Color Fastness:

Similar to the chlorine bleaching color fastness test, but conducted with non-chlorine bleach washing conditions.

Heat Pressing Color Fastness:

Dry samples are covered with cotton lining fabric and pressed for a certain time in a heating device under specified temperature and pressure. The color change in the sample and the staining of the lining fabric are then assessed using grey sample cards. The test methods may vary – dry pressing, damp pressing, or wet pressing – and are chosen according to different customer requirements and testing standards.

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Chemical Performance Testing

Main Testing Items:

Formaldehyde Test, pH Value Test, Water Repellent Test, Oil Repellent Test, Stain Resistant Test, Flame Retardant Test, Fiber Composition Analysis, Banned Azo Dyes Test, etc.

Basic Content:

Formaldehyde Test:

Fabric’s extracted formaldehyde concentration, either free or bound, is measured using colorimetric tests. It often remains in resin-finished, wrinkle-resistant textiles and materials treated with specific agents for better dye fastness, as detected through particular tests.

Know the difference between a Formaldehyde Tester and a Spectrophotometer?

pH Value Test:

A fabric solution’s pH is gauged precisely using a pH meter, indicating the actual pH value.Water Repellent, Oil Repellent, and Stain

Resistant Test:

These assessments gauge fabric’s resistance to water, oil, and stains, focusing on those with three-proof finishing.

Flame Retardant Test:

The sample undergoes a timed burn test on a flame retardant tester per guidelines to note the flame spread rate.

Learn How DaRong Achieve on Manikin in a Combustion Lab.

Fiber Composition Analysis:

Initially, the fabric fibers undergo qualitative analysis through methods like burning, tactile inspection, and more, primarily focusing on microscopic slice analysis to identify fiber types and calculate composition content using specific solvents.

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Banned Azo Dyes Test:

A crucial quality control measure in international textile trade, it evaluates the presence of prohibited azo dyes in eco-textiles mainly through gas chromatography. The testing method varies depending on the textile type, requiring product composition details for accurate analysis.

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