Scope of Fabric Testing

Scope of Fabric Testing:
The performance of a fabric is ultimately related to the end-use conditions of a material. The physical, chemical, physiological and biological influences on fabrics affect their end-use performance. Although all agents affect textile performance at the fiber, yarn and fabric levels, emphasis is generally given to fabrics since they represent the largest class of textile structures in a variety of applications.
Scope of Fabric Testing
Thus, a fabric is usually the most complex and representative form of a textile structure that is subjected to these agents and influences in most end uses. Testing of fabrics and quality control is broad in its scope. It can include, for instance, the means for determining and controlling the quality of a manufactured product. It can be used to measure the outside factors that influence the test results. Testing of fabrics to the above influences of a physical, chemical and biological nature would be of great help to manufacturers in adjusting their process control parameters to produce the right material.

Physical testing
The first broad class of factors that affect the performance of fabrics are factors that influence the test results. Testing of fabrics to the above influphysical agents and influences. These may be further subdivided into mechanical deformation and degradation, tactile and associated visual properties of fabrics (such as wrinkling, buckling, drape and hand) after their use and manufacture, and their response to heat, liquids and static charge. The testing of fabrics to mechanical deformation is very important and refers to fabrics that are subjected to variable and complex modes of deformation. They include tensile behavior, compression, bending or flexing, shrinkage, abrasion resistance, frictional rubbing, torsion or twisting, and shear.

Chemical testing
Chemical and photochemical exposure of textiles may lead to yellowing or discolouration of undyed fabrics, to fading of dyed fabrics, and/or to degradation of dyed and undyed fabrics. These adverse results are due to depolymerization of the polymer chain in the fibre that may occur by hydrolysis, oxidative processes and/or crosslinking. Textile fabrics have varying degrees of resistance to chemical agents such as water and other solvents, to acids, bases and bleaches, to air pollutants and to the photochemical action of ultraviolet light. Resistance to chemical agents is dependent on fibre type chemical nature of the dyes, additives, impurities, finishes present in the fiber, and to a lesser extent on the construction and geometry of the fabric.

Biological testing
Textile fabrics may be adversely affected by various microorganisms and insects. The effect of biological agents on textile fabrics is important for enhancing their end-use performance in many areas. Testing of fabrics and evolution of specific test methods for the above biological influences would help manufacturers, retailers and users of fabrics to develop strategic ways to maintain and protect their fabrics in storage and transportation. These tests would be useful for rapid screening of various modified and unmodified fabrics for their ability to withstand biological attack.

Visual examination
Visual examination of fabrics includes evaluating the texture, surface characteristics, dye shade variations, design details, weave patterns, construction particulars, pilling assessment, etc. Defect analysis is another major area today and is widely discussed in the textile industry. Defects are bound to occur in fabric during manufacture for a number of reasons.

The complex problem of fabric quality control through defect analysis may be solved by means of computer vision using advanced digital signal and image processing tools. Many of these image processing applications aim at detecting textural characteristics and textural defects of fabrics, including color detection and dye shade variations.

Intelligence testing
In the last decade, research and development in smart/intelligent materials and structures have led to the birth of a wide range of novel smart products in aerospace, transportation, telecommunications, homes, buildings and infrastructures.

Intelligent textiles are fibers and fabrics with a significant and reproducible automatic change of properties due to defined environmental influences.

Physiological testing
Three important physical parameters that are instrumental in the physiological processes of fabrics are heat transmission, moisture transport and air permeability. The physiological properties of fabrics relate to what the fabric or garment feels like when it is worn next to the skin, such as too warm, too cold, sweaty, allergic, prickly, etc.

Therefore, in the assessment of a fabric or garment for a particular end use, the comfort of that product is considered to be very important. Fabric testing therefore needs to address the comfort properties of fabrics.

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Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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