Have you found the fabric with the perfect colour and pattern for your cushion, chair or sofa? Once that fun part is over, it is also important to be well informed about other properties of the fabric, like durability, fade resistance to light and rubbing, weave intricacy. FR-One inherently fire retardant upholstery fabrics always meet the highest standards and have passed the most rigorous screenings. Let’s have a look at some of these tests.
Upholstery fabrics can be used for a whole range of interior design scenarios. From cushions and sofas that are mainly decorative and won’t be touched so much, to heavy-duty use in commercial furniture. To know which fabric is suitable for your design project you will need to check the results from a number of tests. FR-One only works with accredited laboratories like Labotex who perform these tests/
The Martindale test is a European way to measure the wear resistance and durability of a fabric. This machine has several lower discs and upper discs. A sample piece of the fabric that needs to be tested is pulled tightly over the smaller upper discs. The lower discs are covered with a series of standard materials like wool. The two discs rub against each other with a certain amount of pressure, in a lissajous curve. This is an elongated figure of eight that continuously changes direction. There is continuous monitoring of how the fabric resists to the abrasion. The higher the number of rubs, the more durable the fabric is. When the test is finished the fabric is checked for damages, holes, pile loss or yarn breaks.
We asked one of the Labotex team membershow many rubs can a fabric take before there are signs of damage: ‘The minimum of Martindale for upholstery is 15.000-20.000 rubs, for contract use you need to have at least at 30.000 rubs.‘.
When we look at the new FR-One Miles collection we see fabrics with a rating of 40.000 to 70.000 Martindale, while all fabrics from the Moon range have an impressive Martindale of 100.000, which makes them extremely durable.
To make our abrasion tests complete, our fabrics also undergo the American Wyzenbeek durability test. It may look like a similar test with two fabrics rubbing over each other, however in the Wyzenbeek machine the fabric samples are only moving back and forth on a cylinder covered in either cotton fabric or wire screen. It is a whole different way to test durability and because of this both Martindale and Wyzenbeek tests complement each other and are meaningful to test a fabric.
“A fabric needs to go through several rigorous tests before it is approved in the FR-One collection”
The Martindale machine is also used to test pilling. Abrasion from rubbing and touching causes fuzziness of the fibers. This creates small little balls - pills - that come up to the surface and fabrics will pill. Pilling is completely normal, there is always a certain wear and tear, but some in some fabrics the pilling is more noticeable. For pieces of upholstery that are heavily used your will need to have a fabric taht doen's pill so easily. To test the fabric the Martindale machine lets the discs rotate over the fabric in a compact motion, applying more pressure to a large surface area. After a certain number of rubs, the fabric samples are tested for pills. The higher the Martindale number the more durable your fabric will be.
The Martindale machine is an excellent instrument for testing abrasion and pilling, but don’t forget that there can be other factors too that damage the fabric, like dirt, light and UV exposure.
You can find more information on all the mechanical tests on the Labotex website