Abrasion can be defined as the removal of material from the bulk of the substrate, during relative movement of the abrasive and substrate. This test try to forecast how well a fabric will stand up to wear and tear as upholstery. The resistance power against damage due to abrasion of a fabric known as abrasion resistance. Abrasion testing isn’t the only method to guage the durability of a fabric, its one of the most direct method. There are also tensile strength, vertically and horizontally.
The Martindale method, also known as the Martindale rub test, in which the textile sample is rubbed against a standard abrasive surface with a specified force and tests the abrasion resistance of the fabric through the test. Abrasion resistance refers to the resistance of fabric to other materials in the process of repeated friction with other materials. Pilling resistance is an important quality index of textile product, which directly affects the durability and application effect of the product.
The Martindale is considered by many to be a more accurate measurement of “real life” use. The fabric is mounted flat and rubbed in a modified figure-eight motion with a piece of worsted wool as the abradant. The number of cycles that the fabric can withstand before showing an objectionable change in appearance is counted.
20,000 Martindale cycles = general commercial use
40,000 Martindale cycles = heavy duty commercial use
The Wyzenbeek abrasion test is used primarily in North America. The test was originally developed to determine the ability of automotive tires to withstand road abrasion. This abrasion testing method has been modified to test all types of materials against abrasion. In its various iterations, the test can be used to test clothing textiles, leather, upholstery fabric, automotive tires and floor covering.
In the Wyzenbeek test, a piece of cotton duck fabric or a wire mesh is rubbed in a straight back and forth motion until “noticeable wear” or thread break is evident. One back and forth motion is called a “double rub.” All of the particulars of the Wyzenbeek test such as the pressure of the rubbing, etc., are detailed in ASTM D4157-02 specifications. (ASTM is the American Society for Testing and Materials.)
15,000 Wyzenbeek cycles = general commercial use
30,000 Wyzenbeek cycles = heavy duty commercial use
Does it mean that low or no abrasion figures are of no good? No, not necessary. It is just a gauge.
Testing of upholstery fabrics takes time and the longer the consumption of time at the testing centre the most cost involved in getting the fabric certified. Some untested fabrics can also be quite durable too, this is from our years of experience. By looking and feeling the fabric selected for your custom upholstery, we would roughly be able to advise you if its of certain quality.
Of course it also shouldn’t deter you from using low rub count fabrics. Natural materials such as silk and cotton can also be used for your custom sofas or chairs that you want to build. It just simply have its natural characteristics of advantages and disadvantages.
Cotton fabric are very soft and cooling to touch when use for upholstery but it weakens after 4 to 5 years which is actually acceptable to some of our customers. Silk with rub counts of <3000 would last for about 2 years. But its certain very elegant and beautifully awesome.
How long your fabric last also depends on how you approach it when you take your seat on your upholstered furniture too. I don’t suppose you throw yourself with your whole body weight on your sofa. That instantaneous moment creates extreme amount of stress to the upholstered fabric.