What is Fabric Pilling and Testing Methods

What is fabric Pilling

Textiles commonly experience fabric pilling during their washing, dry cleaning, or wearing processes.It occurs due to continuous rubbing, friction, and other external forces, which cause the surface fibers to project and tangle into small balls. Pilling resistance refers to a fabric’s ability to withstand pilling and surface changes.

Fabric Pilling Testing Methods

There are several testing methods available to measure pilling resistance, including the circular locus method, Martindale method, and pilling box method. Various test standards, such as GB/T 4802.1-2008, GB/T 4802.2, GB/T 4802.3, ISO 12945-1, ISO 12945-2, and ASTM D 4970, outline these methods. It is important to note that the same fabric can exhibit differing pilling resistance performance when tested with different methods, as each method has its own testing principle.

Fabric Pilling Testing Instruments:

1.Martindale Abrasion Tester:

This method simulates fabric pilling resulting from continuous self-friction. It is applicable to most woven fabrics, particularly woolen ones. We rub the fabric against the same fabric or a wool fabric abrasive fabric following a Lissajous pattern trajectory under specified pressure. After a defined rubbing phase, we visually assess the specimen’s pilling level.

Martindale Abrasion Tester

2.Circular Locus Pilling TeSter:

We mostly use this method for low stretch filament woven fabrics, knitted fabrics, chemical fiber pure spinning or blended fabrics, and woolen fabrics. We induce pilling by rubbing the specimen with nylon brushes and fabric abrasives. Then, under prescribed lighting conditions, we visually assess the pilling performance.

Fabric circula pilling tester

3.Pilling Test Box:

This method is suitable for woolen fabrics and other fabrics prone to pilling. We mount the specimen on a polyurethane tube and flip it in a cork-lined wooden box at a constant speed. After a specified number of flips, we visually assess the pilling performance.

Fabric Pilling Rating Results:

Perform the rating in a dark room. Place the tested sample and an untested sample side by side on the specimen plate of the rating box. Then visually assess the samples from the front at the edge of the rating box.

By understanding the different testing methods and instruments available, textile manufacturers can effectively evaluate and improve the pilling resistance of their products, ultimately enhancing fabric quality and durability.

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