Ultimate Guide to Martindale Test

Suppose you are a quality control manager in a textile manufacturer, or a laboratory technician in a textile lab. In that case, you need to understand: how to test the pilling and abrasion resistance of textiles. This article guides you to a comprehensive understanding of the key experiments for testing textiles’ pilling and abrasion resistance: the Martindale test, and the Martindale testing instrument and standards. 

What is the Martindale Test

Concept of Martindale Test

Pilling: Circular samples are rubbed against the fabric of the same material under a given pressure, following a Lissajous curve trajectory. After reaching a specified number of rotations, the level of fuzzing and pilling of the sample is assessed.

Abrasion Resistance: Circular fabric samples, under a certain pressure, are rubbed against standard abrasives following the movement trajectory of a Lissajous curve, leading to sample damage. The number of abrasions until the sample is damaged indicates the fabric’s abrasion resistance.

The Origin of the Name “Martindale Test”

The name Martindale comes from a British scientist named J. A. Martindale in the mid-20th century. He was also an inventor who specialized in the development of textile testing equipment.

The Importance of the Martindale Test

The basic unit of a fabric is the yarn, which, during processing and usage, can form pills due to the influence of external forces, affecting the fabric’s appearance and diminishing its performance. Therefore, before your mass production, the fabric’s tendency to fuzz and pill is an important indicator of its quality. Testing and using this indicator to predict and improve product quality is a crucial step. It ensures your large-scale production and avoids flawed products. 

How to Perform the Martindale Test?

Principle of the Martindale Test

Circular fabric samples, under a certain pressure, rub against standard abrasives following a Lissajous curve trajectory, with the number of abrasions leading to sample damage indicating the fabric’s abrasion resistance.

How the Martindale Tester Simulates Tear and Wear

The Martindale Test primarily simulates wear from everyday use. However, frequent rubbing of the fabric can lead to minor tearing, usually in areas already worn. Thus, it also indirectly reflects the degree of tearing after the fabric has been rubbed.

What does the Martindale Circle Mean

The Martindale circle is not a single-motion trajectory. It involves multi-directional, complex elliptical or circular movements to simulate the multi-directional wear fabrics experience in daily life.

Instruments Used

The Martindale Abrasion Tester is a commonly used instrument. It consists of an abrasion head, sample fixture, weighting disc, motion control system, counter, and parameter adjustment system.

Darong Company produces the Martindale Abrasion Tester, featuring multi-station functionality. The most recommended is the YG(B)401G, a 9-station abrasion tester. You can follow the below steps to do a Martindale Test.

Video Operation of YG(B)401G Martindale Tester

martindale pilling snagging tester

Darong Martindale Tester YG(B)401G Usage Steps

Sample Fixture Installation

Place a felt pad with a diameter of (90±1) mm in the center of the sample fixture. Place a 140mm diameter sample, face up, on the felt pad. Position it in the groove at the larger end of the auxiliary device. Secure with the sample fixture ring. Ensure the sample and felt pad do not move or deform. Place loading blocks as needed.

Sample Installation on the Abrasion Table

Place a 140mm diameter wool felt on the abrasion table. Place a sample of the same diameter or standard wool cloth on top, face up. Place the pressure weight to flatten it and tighten it with the securing ring.


Set the number of abrasions and start the instrument. The instrument stops when the preset number is reached, completing one test. Conduct the first assessment without removing or cleaning the sample surface.

After the assessment, reposition the sample fixture on the pilling table and continue testing. Assess at each stage of abrasion until the specified test endpoint is reached.


Place the grading box in a dark room. Place the test sample and an original piece in a vertical position, side by side, in the center of the grading platform in the grading box. You need to place the test sample on the left, the original on the right. Grade and record the grade of each sample. 

There are 5 levels, divided into 9 grades, with half grades allowed. Level 5 is the best, level 1 is the worst.


Condition the samples in a constant temperature and humidity environment before testing.

After conditioning, randomly place the samples, and use a sampler to cut 140mm diameter circular samples. You need to ensure no identical warp or weft yarns between samples. Prepare at least 3 sets of samples for each specimen. Mount samples on both the sample and abrasion tables. If you use wool felt on the abrasion table, you need to prepare at least 3 sets of samples for the sample clamp.

You should not reuse abrasive clothes. You need to replace them after each test.

Wool felt can be reused and used on both sides. Replace if the surface is worn or contaminated.

If after the test, the sample’s surface shows significant wear, broken yarns, fuzzing, pilling, or severe abrasion, the experiment is unsuccessful.

Pay special attention during sample preparation to ensure cutting edges do not produce frayed edges.

Video Demonstration for the Martindale Test

Explore more models of Martindale Testers from DaRong

How to Assess Test Results

The number of rubs, until different fabric samples are worn out, represents the wear resistance of the sample material.

The more rubs a fabric withstands, the better its wear resistance. This result helps you understand the durability and suitability of the fabric.

Based on the wear resistance of different fabrics, you can match suitable fabrics for end products. 


martindale chart

Differences Between the Martindale Abrasion Test and the Wyzenbeek Abrasion Test

You must always consider which method to choose before doing an abrasion test. Let’s explore the differences between the Martindale Abrasion Test and the Wyzenbeek Abrasion Test.

Different Testing Principles

In the Martindale test, the fabric is fixed on a rotating platform, and the abrasion head rubs in multiple directions. In the Wyzenbeek test, the fabric is held stationary, and the abrasion head rubs in a reciprocating straight line.

Different Testing Processes

The Martindale test continues until the fabric shows wear. The Wyzenbeek test continues until the fabric turns damaged.

Different Application Regions

The Martindale test is mainly used in Europe and for international standards. The Wyzenbeek test is primarily used in the United States, focusing on the furniture industry.

Different Fabrics Tested

The Martindale test is more versatile and suitable for both delicate and heavy fabrics. The Wyzenbeek test is more suited for heavier fabrics.

The results of the two tests are not directly correlated due to differences in their testing methodologies and the types of wear they simulate.

The Role of the Martindale Abrasion Test in Sustainable Development

When you consider putting into production new materials,  this test helps in predicting the performance of new materials in actual applications. It allows for timely adjustments in the selection of fabric materials, the design of fabric structure, and the post-treatment processes of fabrics before mass production. Durable new material fabrics can prevent waste and reduce resource consumption, decreasing the frequency of replacements. This plays a positive role in promoting environmental protection worldwide.

Martindale Abrasion Test Industry Standards

International Standards: ISO 12947.2—1998; ISO 12947.3—1998; ISO 12947-4—1998.

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard: ASTMD4966-2010.

European Union Standards: EN ISO 12947-2:1998; EN ISO 12947-3:1998; EN ISO 12947-4:1998.

German Institute for Standardization (DIN) Standards: DIN EN ISO 12947-2-2007; DIN EN ISO 12947-3-2007; DIN EN ISO 12947-7-2007.

British Standards Institution (BS) Standards: BS ISO 12947.2-1998; BS ISO 12947.3-1998; BS EN ISO 12947-4-1999.

Chinese National Standards: GB/T 21196.2-2007; GB/T 21196.3-2007; GB/T 21196.4-2007.

The EU standards, DIN standards, and BS standards all adopt the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards equivalently. The Chinese National Standards modify and adopt the ISO standards. The testing methods are essentially equivalent to the provisions of the ISO standards. The only differences are the expansion of the scope of the standards to include coated fabrics and additional provisions for the testing of coated fabrics, including specifications for coating damage, abrasion load parameters, standard abrasives, and requirements for the replacement of standard abrasives


The Martindale test is a fundamental understanding of fabrics that all textile enterprises and laboratories need to be equipped with. Suppose you can master the principles and experimental methods of the Martindale test, as well as the knowledge of instrument operation. In that case, it will greatly enhance the output and efficiency of your enterprise and laboratory.


Q: Is fabric weighing heavy more durable?

A: To determine the best fabric based on its abrasion resistance and durability, contrary to the common misconception that fabric weight equals durability.

Q: Are there limits for the Martindale test:

A: Factors that affect fabric resistance to abrasion that the test can’t define: Although a good indication of the ability of your chosen fabric to withstand abrasion (wear and tear) what it doesn’t do is account for every scenario. For example, chemicals, UV light, and pet scratching.

Q: Is Martindale rub count the only factor to take into consideration when choosing a fabric?

A: Not necessarily. Application scenarios, comfort, and cost also need to be considered. For example, sportswear requires consideration of breathability. Wedding dresses need to consider the fineness of the fabric. It’s not just the abrasion count that should be the reference for choosing fabrics.

Related Resources

What is Fabric Pilling and Testing Methods

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