Rights: The University of Waikato Published 31 May 2010 Download

Testing for abrasion is done on a Martindale machine. The sample fabric is rubbed against a standard abrasion fabric using a standard weight until it reaches an unacceptable end point. Testing for pilling is done on the same machine but without using weights or abrasion fabric – 2 samples of the same fabric are rubbed against one another for a thousand rubs and compared to a standard photograph.

Questions to consider:
Can you design a method for testing abrasion and pilling resistance of fabrics in the classroom?

Lorraine Greer (AgResearch
This is the Martindale abrasion test, and the purpose of this is to get a benchmark on the abrasion resistance of the test fabrics that we are testing.

It’s quite simple. We have a weight, which is a standard weight, and we have our test sample, and here we have the standard abradent fabric, which we have to buy from the UK.

So we are looking at the number of rubs that it takes for this fabric to wear down till we've got an end point of when two threads are broken or when there is a colour change or when there is an unacceptable appearance change, so you've got 3 end points. So it means that we have to continually stop and inspect the fabric under a microscope, because this is so fine this fabric that you can't see it by eye. You need to do it under a binocular microscope, then you can see when the threads are broken. It’s controlled by a means of two counters, one which gives you the total number of rubs that we have given the fabric and another one where you can preset it to a particular number of rubs.

The pilling test – this is done on the same machine, the Martindale machine – but we don't have any weights, we just simply have the spindle. We have the test sample mounted in the same way, but instead of the standard abradent, we put the test sample fabric on the bottom as well, and it only goes for a thousand rubs. We take the samples off and then we compare them with standard photographs where we showing incident light onto the samples. Pilling are those little balls of fibres that form on the surface of fabrics, that means you've got an unacceptable appearance, and nobody likes to see pills all over their fabrics.