How Friction Analysis Helps Textile Manufacturers Create Better Products and Coatings

Posted by John Bogart on Wed, Jul 29, 2015

Today’s consumers are demanding longer-lasting, lightweight textiles and better textile treatment coatings. In order to obtain the increased market share and the economic rewards that accompany it, textile and coating manufacturers are pushing the envelope and looking for answers. Friction analysis tools offer a number of far-reaching solutions for these companies, as advancements in the ability to accurately analyze friction in both laboratory, near-line and field environments give textile and treatment manufacturers the ability to meet the demand for higher-performing textiles, and reap the economic and environmental benefits these innovations provide.

To understand how coefficient of friction (COF) testing impacts textile and textile coating creation, you must first understand the two main fault factors associated with textile materials. Wear refers to the loss of material by any means, although it’s typically caused by two surfaces rubbing together. Abrasion, on the other hand, is a general term used to refer to wear, where abrasion is the action that causes wear via rubbing against another surface.

A recent study, “Analysis of Abrasion Characteristics in Textiles”, discusses how wear contributes heavily to a product’s loss of usefulness, and because of the economic implications, wear is a primary area of focus for both manufacturers and consumers. It occurs on textile materials as the result of a number of factors, but is primarily caused by friction. Friction happens between textile materials, such as coat and jacket linings, and it also occurs between textile materials and an outside force, such as pants against a car seat. Friction between fabric and its own fibrous constituents along with dirt/grit also contribute to wear in textiles.

For manufacturers, measuring, quantifying, and analyzing friction factors are highly beneficial when studying both the development and lifespan of textile materials and coatings. The best friction analysis tools allow real-time COF values to be measured throughout the research and development process, and in the field – in a variety of environments – with acceptable accuracy and precision. These technological insights provide invaluable data to manufacturers throughout the product development and testing phases, helping reduce the rate of lifetime wear by pinpointing COF values and tracking them.

What about the way our clothing makes us feel?

Innovations in the textile industry aim to enhance the feeling of well-being our clothes give us. Eurojersey, an Italian knitted fabrics company, recently unveiled a groundbreaking technical fabric called Sensitive Sculpt Light. Feather-light weight coupled with high compression power allows this fabric to offer “maximum freedom of movement, ensuring absolute comfort,” the manufacturer reports. Sensitive Sculpt Light is incredibly thin, smooth, and low friction, and its ability to wear well while creating a flat and uniform look on the body could very well become the gold standard of comfort.

However, given the thin, lightweight nature of this fabric, wear and durability were obviously a concern for the manufacturer. The more friction a textile creates, the faster it will wear – causing unsightly pilling and fading in the fabric. By analyzing the COF of a fabric and reducing its friction, textile manufacturers like Eurojersey can create durable, low friction fabrics that not only last longer, but also feel great.

The ability to accurately and easily obtain friction analysis data will undoubtedly change the way textile and textile-coating manufacturers create new products that address consumer preferences for higher-performing, comfortable fabrics. Innovative fabrics and fabric coatings represent a huge opportunity to create a competitive advantage, and with the right tools, like Kett’s friction analyzers and surface property test instruments, the potential is within reach for any forward-thinking textile manufacturer.

Optimize Effects of Friction on Coated Packaging Material

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