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Burning Test of Textile Fiber | Flammability Test of Textile Fiber | Fiber Identification Through Burning Test

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Fabric Identification is done with a simple fabric burn test or fiber burn test. Flammability testing, Flammability Test is best to know the identification of fabric.

To recognize the composition of fabrics by the burning test ,the sample of fibre, yarn of fabric should be moved slowly towards a small flame and the reaction to heat carefully observed .One end of the sample should be put directly into flame to determine its burning rate and characteristics. The burning odour should be noted and the characteristics of the ash such as amount ,form, hardness and colour should be examined.

To identify fabric that is unknown, a simple burn test can be done to determine if the fabric is a natural fiber, man made fiber, or a blend of natural and man made fibers. The burn test is used by many fabric stores and designers and takes practice to determine the exact fiber content. However, an inexperienced person can still determine the difference between many fibers to "narrow" the choices down to natural or man made fibers. This elimination process will give information necessary to decide the care of the fabric.

Warning
All fibers will burn! Asbestos treated fibers are, for the most part fire proof. The burning test should be done with caution. Use a small piece of fabric only. Hold the fabric with tweezers, not your fingers. Burn over a metal dish with soda in the bottom or even water in the bottom of the dish. Some fabrics will ignite and melt. The result is burning drips which can adhere to fabric or skin and cause a serious burn.

Identification of Fibers Through  Burning Test:

Cotton
When ignited it burns with a steady flame and smells like burning leaves. The ash left is easily crumbled. Small samples of burning cotton can be blown out as you would a candle.

Linen
Linen takes longer to ignite. The fabric closest to the ash is very brittle. Linen is easily extinguished by blowing on it as you would a candle.

Silk
It is a protein fibre and usually burns readily, not necessarily with a steady flame, and smells like burning hair. The ash is easily crumbled. Silk samples are not as easily extinguished as cotton or linen.

Wool
It is also a protein fibre but is harder to ignite than silk as the individual "hair" fibres are shorter than silk and the weave of the fabrics is generally looser than with silk. The flame is steady but more difficult to keep burning. The smell of burning wool is like burning hair.

Man Made Fibres

Acetate
Acetate burns readily with a flickering flame that cannot be easily extinguished. The burning cellulose drips and leaves a hard ash. The smell is similar to burning wood chips.

Acrylic

Acrylics burn readily due to the fibre content and the lofty, air filled pockets. A match dropped on an acrylic blanket can ignite the fabric which will burn rapidly unless extinguished. The ash is hard. The smell is acrid or harsh.

Nylon
Nylon melts and then burns rapidly if the flame remains on the melted fibre. If you can keep the flame on the melting nylon, it smells like burning plastic.

Polyester
Polyester melts and burns at the same time, the melting, burning ash can bond quickly to any surface it drips on including skin. The smoke from polyester is black with a sweetish smell. The extinguished ash is hard.

Rayon
It is a regenerated cellulose fibre which is almost pure cellulose. Rayon burns rapidly and leaves only a slight ash. The burning smell is close to burning leaves.

Limitation of Burning Test:
It is apparent that many fibers have similar burning reactions that might cause doubt and occasional confusion.


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