Over the years, ACT has noticed that designers and end-users are increasingly demanding higher and higher abrasion test numbers when selecting textiles. As a result, we have felt a growing need to clarify how to use Wyzenbeek and Martindale test results effectively. For this purpose ACT conducted a survey of our member companies to find out whether or not surface abrasion was a leading cause of fabric failures in the field. The findings strongly indicate otherwise. Field failures are far more likely to be from:
• Inappropriate cleaning
• Lack of proper maintenance
• Physical abuse
• Inappropriate application
The perception that abrasion test results are the most significant predictors of a fabric’s overall durability is therefore inaccurate. Accordingly, specifiers should consider the following:
Wyzenbeek and Martindale testing measure flat abrasion resistance and do not consider edge abrasion or other types of surface wear that may occur in actual upholstered applications.
The ACT Wyzenbeek Performance Verification Fabric Study conducted in 2009 showed that test results on the same fabric can and do vary significantly from test to test. For example, a variance of at least 60 percent was observed. Therefore, ACT does not recommend using absolute numbers for comparison. Consider a range of + / – as acceptable.
Higher abrasion numbers do not necessarily indicate a significant extension of the fabric’s service life. In fact, test results exceeding the ACT high-traffic abrasion guideline have not been shown to be an indicator of increased fabric lifespan.
A fabric with twice the number of abrasion cycles does not indicate double the service life.
ACT Voluntary Abrasion Guideline for Woven and Knit Fabrics
• 15,000 double rubs Wyzenbeek/20,000 cycles Martindale = suitable for commercial low traffic/private spaces.
• 30,000 double rubs Wyzenbeek/40,000 cycles Martindale = suitable for commercial high traffic/public spaces.
ACT Voluntary Abrasion Guideline for Coated Fabrics
• 50,000 double rubs Wyzenbeek = suitable for commercial high traffic/public spaces.
In an effort to bring further clarity to the appropriate consideration of Wyzenbeek and Martindale test results, textile companies and furniture manufacturers that use the ACT certification mark for abrasion on their samples must include the following statement whenever publishing test results exceeding the ACT high-traffic abrasion guideline.
“Abrasion test results exceeding ACT Performance Guidelines are not an indicator of product lifespan. Multiple factors affect fabric durability and appearance retention.”
ACT reminds you that there are many points to consider when specifying textiles. Wyzenbeek and Martindale test results are only part of the equation in fully assessing a textile’s predicted durability and appearance retention. All of the following issues should be included in any such assessment:
• Type of Setting or Facility
• Specific Demands of End-Use Applications
• Durability Characteristics of the Textile
• Physical Properties
• Surface Abrasion Resistance
• Protocols of Maintenance and Cleaning
• A Material’s Ability to Withstand Cleaning Products and Disinfectants
• Aspects of End Product Manufacturing
Collectively, these considerations will facilitate your selection of the most appropriate fabric for the project.
For survey details and additional research, read our White Papers.