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Textile Research Journal Article

Multivariate Studies of Mechanical Properties for Wool
and Cotton Fabrics
Jimmy K. C. Lam1
Abstract In this study, the mechanical proper- Institute of Textiles & Clothing,
ties of fifty-eight light-weight wool/wool-blend The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
fabrics and twenty medium to heavy-weight cotton
denim fabrics were analyzed by multi-dimensional Ron Postle
techniques of principal component analysis. The School of Chemistry, University of New South Wales,
technique reduced the dataset of wool/wool-blend Sydney 2052, Australia
fabrics into seven components and explained 86%
of the population variance. For the cotton denim
fabrics, the dataset was reduced into five compo-
nents and explained 95% of the population vari-
ance. Fabric surface properties and fabric bending
and shear properties were the most important
properties to explain the fabric stiffness hardness
and tailorability for these two fabric classes. The
results show how multivariate statistical analysis
techniques of fabric mechanical and surface prop-
erty data for two very different groups of fabrics
can provide a basis for the specification and con-
trol of fabric quality along the textile and apparel
supply chain. These reduced datasets with the
most important component extracted first and the
least important component extracted last, allow
the supply chain members to focus directly on the
key factors for product design and development.

Key words fabric objective measurement, fabric
hand, fabric surface, tension, compression, bend-
ing, shear, wool/wool blend fabrics, cotton denim

The comparative studies on low-stress mechanical properties variables and their effects on the fabric mechanical proper-
of wool and cotton fabrics using the fabric objective measure- ties such as tensile, bending, shear and surface characteris-
ment (FOM) technology demonstrate that a large amount of tics [3]. The mechanical variables discussed in the present
fabric data is readily available to the textile and apparel sup- paper1 include thirty parameters. If, for example, it is
ply chain [1]. However, the vast amount of FOM data makes required to correlate each pair of fabric variables for low-
the interpretation very difficult [2]. Therefore, the immediate stress mechanical properties, we would need to consider
application of FOM to the industry is very limited except for 435[(30 × 29)/2] combinations. Clearly, correlation tables
a few research institutions and very large companies. of this order of magnitude are very tedious to analyze and
In addition, the techniques used by the comparative this represents a major problem for the interpretation of
studies can only analyze a few data simultaneously. Such an fabric mechanical property data in the scientific literature.
analysis is normally based on fiber type, weave structure or
the fabric end use. It is difficult to analyze all the variables
simultaneously, not to mention the interaction between Corresponding author: e-mail:

Textile Research Journal Vol 76(5): 414–425 DOI: 10.1177/0040517506062768 © 2006 SAGE Publications
Figures 1–3 appear in color online:
Multivariate Studies of Mechanical Properties for Wool and Cotton Fabrics J. K. C. Lam and R. Postle 415 TRJ

In the present study, the statistical technique of multi- dependent variables and all others are the independent
variate factor analysis was employed. Factor analysis is a variables.
technique for analyzing the pattern of complex, multi- The advantage of factor analysis is that it is an independ-
dimensional data set relationships. It can be utilized to ent technique in which all variables are simultaneously con-
examine the underlying patterns or relationships for a large sidered, each related to all others still employing the concept
number of variables and to determine whether the informa- of the variate, the linear composite of variables. In factor
tion can be condensed or summarized into a smaller set of analysis, the factors are formed to maximize their explanation
factors. of the entire variable set, not to predict dependent variables.
Factor analysis differs from the dependence techniques, In this study, factor analysis was used to analyze wool
in which one or more variables are explicitly considered and wool-blend fabrics and cotton denim fabrics in terms

Table 1 Fabric characteristics for 58 wool/wool-blend fabrics.

Weight Threads per cm Yarn count (Tex)
(g/m2) Warp Weft Warp Weft
Pure wool (31 samples)
Range 140–273 22–59 19–38 18–41 18–44
Average 185 31 26 31 30
Wool/wool-blend (27 samples)*
Range 125–242 21–55 16–33 22–45 22–45
Average 172 28 24 30 30
* The wool-blend fabrics contain wool/polyester fibers with blend percentages of wool/polyester of 90/10; 80/20; 75/25; 60/40; 50/50.

Table 2 Fabric mechanical parameters measured on KES-F instruments for wool/wool-blend and cotton denim fabrics.
Parameter symbol Description Unit
EMT Fabric extension at 5 N/cm width %
LT Linearity of load extension curve –
WT Energy in extending to 5 N/cm width J/m2
RT Tensile resilience %
G Shear rigidity N/m
2HG Hysteresis of shear at 8.7 mrad N/m
2HG5 Hysteresis of shear at 87 mrad N/m
B Bending rigidity µNm
2HB Hysteresis of bending moment mN
MIU Coefficient of friction –
MMD Mean deviation of MIU –
SMD Geometrical roughness µm
LC Linearity of compression-thickness curve –
WC Energy in compression fabric under 5 kPa J/m2
RC Compression resilience %
T0 Fabric thickness at 50 Pa pressure mm
Tm Fabric thickness at 5k Pa pressure mm
Fabric characteristics
W Mass per unit area g/m2
Fiber Pure wool /wool-blend
Weave Weave structure (plain or twill)
For the tensile, bending and surface properties, each parameter has two values, representing the warp and weft directions of the fabric.
TRJ 416 Textile Research Journal 76(5)

of their low-stress mechanical properties of extension, factor solution) extracts the factors in the order of their
compression, bending, shear and surface characteristics [4] importance. That is, the first component tends to have
(measured on the KES-F instruments). The characteristics most variable loadings and accounts for the largest amount
of the wool/wool-blend fabrics considered in the present of variance. The second and subsequent components are
study are shown in Table 1 and the measured parameters then based on the residual variance and therefore account
from KES-F are shown in Table 2. The wool-blend fabrics for successively smaller portions of variance. This principal
contained wool and polyester fibers with blend percentages component method, however, makes the data interpreta-
of 90/10, 80/20, 75/25, 60/40, and 50/50, with the major tion rather difficult as every variable seems to be concen-
fiber content being wool. trated in the first few components.
We therefore used the Varimax rotation method of
principal component analysis for the wool and wool-blend
fabrics. The Varimax method has proved to be very useful
Structured Approach to Multivariate on orthogonal rotation in the principal component analysis
Analysis [5, 6].
The results of the Varimax rotation are shown in
To apply the multivariate factor analysis technique to the Table 4. To access the variables in each extracted compo-
fabric mechanical parameters measured on the KES-F nent in Table 4, the highest loading factor for each fabric
instruments, a five-stage structured approach model was mechanical parameter is selected; the result is shown in
used. This model-building approach focuses the analysis bold type with an asterisk in Table 4. The percentage of the
using a well-defined research plan, starting with a concep- variance as explained by each of the seven components for
tual model detailing the relationships to be examined. wool/wool-blend fabrics for the rotated factor solution is
Table 3 summarizes the five-stage structured model used in shown at the top of Table 4.
the present study.
In this report, model interpretation based on rotated
factor solutions is discussed for both wool/wool-blend fab- (a) Component 1
rics and cotton denim fabrics. Further details for each Component 1 accounted for 19.9% of total explained vari-
stage of the model are presented elsewhere [1]. ance for wool/wool-blend fabric mechanical properties.
There are seven fabric mechanical parameters that have
the highest loading with Component 1, six of which are
Rotated Factor Solution for Wool/ tensile parameters namely EMT1, EMT2, LT1, LT2, WT1
and WT2. Both LT1 and LT2 are negatively correlated with
Wool-blend Fabrics Component 1. The last mechanical parameter in Compo-
nent 1 is the compression energy WC, which again is nega-
The purpose of factor rotation is to redistribute the varia- tively correlated with Component 1. The percentage
bles evenly among all the components extracted from prin- contributions of these seven fabric parameters for Compo-
cipal component analysis. The initial solution obtained nent 1 are shown in Figure 1.
from principal component analysis (called the unrotated The strong correlation of tensile parameters of fabric
extensibility, linearity and tensile energy and fabric com-
pression energy (WC) with Component 1 means that fabric
Table 3 Five-stage structured model approach. extensibility and firmness are important elements for the
Stage Purpose mechanical properties of these high-quality relatively light-
weight wool and wool-blend fabrics. The average warp
1. Research To summarize 30 fabric mechanical parame- extensibility was 4.4% and weft extensibility was 7.2%,
objectives ters measured on the KES-F instruments into
which fall within the acceptable region of the HESC (Hand
smaller data set for easy interpretation.
Evaluation Standardisation Committee) Data Control
2. Analysis plan Using R-type factor analysis on all the 30 fab- Chart for both men’s winter and summer suits [4].
ric mechanical parameters. The tensile energy (WT) measures the energy under the
3. Assumption test Testing on correlation coefficient, multi-col- load–extension curve for a fixed applied load and there-
linearity of the data set fore, is directly related to fabric extension, EMT. Hence,
4. Extraction Using principal component analysis for data
both EMT and WT have strong positive correlations with
method summarization for all wool/wool-blend and Component 1. The fabric compression energy, WC is nega-
cotton fabrics tively correlated with Component 1 representing a direct
relationship between Component 1 and fabric firmness.
5. Model Using rotated factor solutions for data inter-
The tensile linearity (LT) measures the ratio of actual
interpretation pretation.
fabric tensile energy to the total energy for a hypothetical
Multivariate Studies of Mechanical Properties for Wool and Cotton Fabrics J. K. C. Lam and R. Postle 417 TRJ

Table 4 Rotated principal component analysis on the wool and wool-blend fabrics (rotation method: Varimax with Kaiser
Explained 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Variance% 19.9% 17.4% 15.6% 15.2% 7.1% 5.7% 5.1%
Compression parameters
To –0.03 0.01 0.04 MKVOG –0.17 0.16 –0.12
Tm 0.07 –0.05 0.11 MKVNG –0.15 0.10 0.25
EMC –0.21 0.11 –0.16 –0.22 –0.03 0.09 ÓMKVMG
LC –0.51 0.37 0.10 –0.34 –0.05 0.08 MKROG
WC ÓMKTOG 0.39 –0.08 0.06 –0.28 0.19 –0.23
RC 0.18 –0.01 –0.03 ÓMKUOG 0.35 0.00 0.08
Bending parameters
B-1 0.05 –0.10 0.24 MKUNG 0.21 0.06 0.05
B-2 –0.11 0.20 MKTSG 0.41 –0.07 –0.23 0.03
2HB-1 –0.05 –0.06 MKUMG 0.30 0.19 –0.07 0.26
2HB-2 –0.07 0.14 MKVPG 0.04 0.00 –0.19 0.09
Shear parameters
G 0.16 –0.22 MKSQG –0.02 0.57 0.07 0.21
2HG 0.00 –0.23 MKVMG 0.01 0.06 0.07 –0.09
2HG5 –0.45 0.08 MKUQG –0.08 –0.10 0.09 –0.03
Tensile parameters
EMT-1 MKUUG –0.21 –0.03 0.20 0.04 0.05 0.10
EMT-2 MKUUG –0.24 –0.17 –0.11 0.06 0.15 0.01
LT-1 ÓMKSSG 0.11 0.08 0.01 –0.23 0.39 0.15
LT-2 ÓMKTMG 0.10 –0.01 0.23 –0.20 0.49 0.14
WT-1 MKURG –0.23 –0.01 0.21 –0.01 0.12 0.14
WT-2 MKURG –0.22 –0.17 –0.13 0.05 0.22 0.02
RT-1 0.29 –0.06 0.11 –0.36 MKTUG –0.08 –0.11
RT-2 0.26 –0.04 0.07 –0.14 MKRSG –0.55 0.15
Surface parameters
MIU1 –0.07 MKTMG 0.35 0.04 –0.46 –0.08 –0.04
MIU2 0.25 MKSQG 0.48 0.07 –0.42 –0.02 0.13
MMD1 –0.28 MKUVG –0.07 –0.14 0.03 0.01 0.20
MMD2 –0.25 MKUTG –0.06 –0.20 –0.09 0.04 –0.12
SMD1 –0.35 MKUVG –0.14 –0.01 0.09 0.10 –0.04
SMD2 –0.35 MKUQG –0.13 –0.10 –0.01 0.17 –0.09
Structural parameters
W 0.19 –0.38 0.03 MKUQG 0.00 0.01 0.12
Fiber –0.25 –0.16 0.16 –0.19 –0.03 ÓMKUPG 0.06
Weave 0.52 ÓMKSOG –0.31 0.07 0.09 –0.03 0.07
1 and 2 refer to warp and weft directions respectively.
*Highest loading factor for each fabric mechanical parameter.

linear load–extension curve. A negative correlation of LT extended to a fixed maximum load prior to recovery.
with Component 1 can again be related to the strong posi- Although it could be argued that the measurement of EMT
tive correlation between fabric extensibility EMT and may not add greatly to the information provided by meas-
Component 1. The strong negative correlation between LT uring LT, the fact is that both parameters are obtained
and EMT is a direct result of the fabric tensile test method simultaneously from the one fabric tensile test and are thus
adopted by the KES tensile tester [4] whereby the fabric is included in the present analysis.
TRJ 418 Textile Research Journal 76(5)

Figure 1 Percentage distribution
of fabric mechanical parameters in
Component 1.

Component 1 which is strongly related to the tensile study. Plain weave shows higher values of MIU, MMD and
properties of the textile fabrics was named the “Fabric SMD than twill or satin weaves represented by the negative
Extensibility” in this analysis. correlation between Component 2 and the weave structure.
In the analysis, plain weave was arbitrarily regarded as posi-
tive and other weave structures such as twill were regarded
(b) Component 2 as negative. The present results show that measurements in
Component 2 accounted for 17.4% of total explained vari- both warp and weft directions play an important role in
ance for the mechanical properties of the light-weight wool explaining the surface properties of wool and wool-blend
and wool-blend fabrics. All the measured fabric surface fabrics.
characteristics of MIU1, MIU2, MMD1, MMD2, SMD1 These parameters explain the important attributes of
and SMD2 which are all positively correlated with Compo- the wool and wool-blend fabrics in terms of surface fric-
nent 2 are shown in Figure 2. The remaining property in tion, smoothness or roughness, coarseness and hairiness.
Component 2 is the weave structure which has a negative These attributes represent essential features of high-qual-
correlation (with Component 2). ity wool and wool-blend suiting materials.
Surface properties play an important role for the fifty- The main properties contributing to Component 2 were
eight wool and wool-blend fabrics investigated in the present the fabric surface geometry and surface friction together

Figure 2 Percentage distribution
of fabric mechanical parameters in
Component 2.
Multivariate Studies of Mechanical Properties for Wool and Cotton Fabrics J. K. C. Lam and R. Postle 419 TRJ

with weave structure. Component 2 was therefore termed duce a thinner finished fabric material which is relatively
“Fabric Surface Geometry and Weave Structure” in the difficult to compress and will give a higher compression
present study. resilience.
Component 4 was therefore termed the “Fabric Bulki-
ness and Weight”.
(c) Component 3
Component 3 accounted for 15.6% of total explained vari-
ance and it incorporates six fabric bending and shear
(e) Component 5
mechanical parameters, all of which have strong positive Component 5 accounted for 7.1% of total explained vari-
correlation with Component 3. Three parameters repre- ance and incorporates two fabric mechanical parameters,
sent fabric bending properties (B2, 2HB1, 2HB2) and the namely RT1 and RT2.
other three parameters represent fabric shear properties Tensile resilience (RT) is measured as the ratio of
(G, 2HG, 2HG5). recovered energy per unit area to the energy of extending
The positive correlation of fabric bending and shear the fabric in the load–extension curve. A positive correla-
parameters with Component 3 is to be expected for wool tion of RT (both warp and weft) with Component 5 means
and wool-blend fabrics as both bending and shear stiffness that wool fabrics having high values of Component 5 are
and hysteresis are directly related to wool fabric stiffness, highly elastic during fabric extension. The spiral and helix
firmness and crispness. These fabric parameters are very shape of the crimped wool fiber structure can to some
important in terms of wool fabric quality and tailoring per- extent explain the elastic behavior of wool fabrics.
formance. Component 5 was termed the “Fabric Tensile Resilience
It is interesting that warp bending rigidity (B1) is not Component”.
included in Component 3 in the present study, but is
included in Component 4. This may be a reflection of the
fact that warp bending rigidity B1 for the fifty-eight wool (f) Component 6
and wool-blend fabrics is more significant in terms of fab- Component 6 accounted for 5.7% of the total explained
ric thickness (Component 4) than directly in terms of fab- variance and incorporates one fabric parameter, fiber com-
ric bending and shear properties (Component 3). position.
Component 3 was termed the “Fabric Bending and The fiber composition in the present study consists of
Shear Rigidity and Hysteresis” for the wool and wool- two types, namely pure wool or wool-blend fabrics (wool/
blend fabrics. polyester or wool/silk). This component plays a relatively
small role in the explanation of the total variance of the
fabric mechanical properties for the whole population.
(d) Component 4 Component 6 in the present study was termed the
Component 4 accounted for 15.2% of the total explained “Fiber Component”.
variance of the wool fabric mechanical properties and
incorporates four fabric mechanical parameters and one
structural parameter. They are To, Tm, RC, B1 and W. The
(g) Component 7
first three parameters are fabric compression properties, Component 7 accounted for 5.1% of the total explained
the fourth is the warp fabric bending rigidity and the last is variance and consists of two fabric mechanical parameters,
fabric weight (W). namely EMC and LC.
The high positive correlation of fabric thickness (To and The EMC is the fabric compressibility and is measured
Tm) with Component 4 can be explained in terms of the as the ratio of the difference between surface thickness at
influence of wool fiber properties on fabric thickness and 4.9 kPa and 49 Pa, expressed as a ratio of the original fabric
fullness. A bulky or high crimp wool fiber variety would thickness at 49 Pa. This negative correlation of EMC with
yield more air space between fibers in the fabric, which is Component 7 can be explained in terms that some fabrics
therefore thicker than fabric produced from less bulky are highly pressed during finishing, the surface thickness is
wool fiber varieties. The positive correlation between fab- reduced and so the fabric density is increased, therefore
ric (warp) bending rigidity B1 and Component 4 is also giving a relatively low EMC value. The small positive cor-
related to the effect of fabric thickness. relation of LC with Component 7 is also a function of the
Fabric weight (W) is correlated with fabric thickness inverse relationship between fabric compressibility EMC
(both To and Tm) and is an important property to explain and linearity LC.
the fabric bulkiness and softness of these wool/wool-blend Component 7 was therefore named “Fabric Compressi-
fabrics. The negative correlation of RC with Component 4 bility”.
means that fabric compression resilience decreases when
increasing fabric thickness. A heavy pressing would pro-
TRJ 420 Textile Research Journal 76(5)

Table 5 Summarized results of rotated factor solution for mechanical properties of 58 wool and wool-blend fabrics.
Component Name Mechanical parameters Explained variance
1 Extensibility EMT1, EMT2, -LT1, -LT2, WT1, WT2, -WC 19.9%
2 Surface geometry and weave structure MIU1, MIU2, MMD1, MMD2, SMD1, SMD2, 17.4%
3 Bending and shear rigidity and hysteresis B2, 2HB1, 2HB2, G, 2HG, 2HG5 15.6%
4 Fabric bulkiness and weight To, Tm, -RC, B1, W 15.2%
5 Tensile resilience RT1, RT2 7.1%
6 Fiber -(Fiber) 5.7%
7 Compressibility -EMC, LC 5.1%
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(h) Summary 44.4% of the total variance of the wool and wool-blend
fabrics. As the KES-FB1 also performs a fabric shear test,
Table 5 summarizes the results of the rotated factor solu- this test can therefore account for approximately half the
tion for the fifty-eight lightweight wool and wool-blend variance of Component 3.
fabrics analyzed in the present study. Altogether, these two KESF testers (the fabric tensile/
The seven component factors listed in Table 5 alto- shear tester and the fabric surface tester) together with
gether explain 86% of the total variance for the mechanical some knowledge of fiber composition (Component 6)
properties of the fifty-eight wool/wool-blend fabrics ana- explain approximately 58%, which is over half of the total
lyzed in the present work. variance, of the mechanical properties for the 58 wool and
The first two components together with Component 5 wool-blend fabrics. Most of the remaining variance can be
in Table 4 account for 44.4% of the total variance of the explained by obtaining the fabric weight W and by carrying
mechanical properties of the light-weight wool and wool- out a fabric compression test (using the KES-F fabric com-
blend fabrics. These three components can be evaluated pression tester) leaving only a small unexplained part of
fully from the fabric tensile and shear tester (KES-FB1) the variance attributable to the relatively difficult-to-meas-
and fabric surface tester (KES-FB-4). This means that only ure fabric bending properties.
two KES-F mechanical testers are needed to account for

Table 6 Fabric characteristics for 20 medium/heavy-weight cotton denim fabrics.
Fabric sett
Fabric W (Threads per cm) Yarn count (Tex) Stretch
ID Composition Structure g/m2 Ends Picks Warp Weft weft
C1 Cotton Twill 252 50 24 30 37 No
C2 Cotton Twill 311 50 19 30 84 No
C3 Cotton Twill 199 43 23 28 28 No
C4 Cotton Twill 265 47 20 30 59 No
C5 Cotton/Lycra Twill 260 50 24 30 29.5 + 70 Denier Yes
C6 Cotton Twill 362 31 18 59 59 No
C7 Cotton Twill 430 24 16 84 98 No
C8 Cotton Twill 421 24 19 84 84 No
C9 Cotton/Lycra Twill 409 31 18 84 60 + 70 Denier Yes
C10 Cotton Twill 303 28 18 49 84 No
C11 Cotton/Lycra Check 243 31 24 37 37 + 70 Denier Yes
C12 Cotton/Lycra Herringbone 251 31 24 37 37 + 70 Denier Yes
C13 Cotton/Lycra Twill 281 59 20 30 37 + 70 Denier Yes
C14 Cotton Corduroy 303 25 50 49 37 No
C15 Cotton/Lycra Twill 343 35 18 62 37 + 70 Denier Yes
C16 Cotton Twill 453 27 18 69 107 No
C17 Cotton/Lycra Twill 409 25 22 84 59 + 40 Denier Yes
C18 Cotton/Lycra Twill 290 43 24 37 59 + 150 Denier Yes
C19 Cotton Twill 414 29 20 61 84 No
C20 Cotton Twill 499 24 17 107 98 No
Multivariate Studies of Mechanical Properties for Wool and Cotton Fabrics J. K. C. Lam and R. Postle 421 TRJ

Rotated Factor Solution for Cotton to twenty medium to heavy-weight cotton denim fabrics
manufactured in Hong Kong and China. Table 6 shows the
Denim Fabrics fabric characteristics of these denim/trouser fabrics includ-
ing eight fabrics containing Lycra in the weft. Table 7 shows
The multivariate technique of principal component analy- the results after Varimax rotation by principal component
sis used for wool and wool-blend fabrics was also applied analysis.

Table 7 Rotated principal component analysis on the cotton denim fabrics (Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser
Explained 1 2 3 4 5
Variance 35.4% 19.6% 17.1% 12.2% 11.1%
Tensile parameters
EMT1 –0.68* 0.51 0.20 –0.06 0.32
EMT2 0.04 –0.95* –0.22 –0.06 0.12
LT1 0.08 –0.03 0.26 0.94* 0.15
LT2 –0.69* 0.54 0.37 0.05 0.31
WT1 –0.67* 0.50 0.22 0.06 0.37
WT2 –0.14 –0.95* –0.16 –0.04 0.11
RT1 0.74* –0.50 –0.42 –0.03 0.08
RT2 –0.24 0.92* 0.15 –0.02 0.25
Bending parameters
B1 0.73* 0.06 –0.01 0.64 –0.03
B2 0.18 0.25 0.93* 0.06 0.14
2HB1 0.59 –0.28 0.02 0.73* –0.19
2HB2 0.04 0.16 0.76* 0.59 –0.12
Shear parameters
G –0.13 0.54 0.82* 0.09 0.09
2HG –0.40 0.04 0.85* 0.17 –0.22
2HG5 –0.11 0.62 0.73* –0.09 –0.12
Compression parameters
LC 0.70* –0.04 –0.65 0.24 –0.14
WC 0.90* 0.21 –0.07 0.02 –0.37
RC –0.70* –0.14 –0.44 –0.24 –0.05
Surface parameters
MIU1 0.97* 0.12 –0.03 –0.07 0.07
MIU2 0.93* 0.11 –0.04 0.26 –0.11
MMD1 –0.25 –0.02 0.21 –0.02 0.92*
MMD2 0.90* –0.16 0.20 0.10 0.08
SMD1 –0.15 0.11 –0.22 0.17 0.94*
SMD2 0.94* –0.01 –0.14 0.22 –0.14
Thickness/structural parameters
To 0.93* 0.07 –0.06 0.13 –0.14
Tm 0.83* –0.15 –0.28 0.39 0.22
EMC –0.13 0.38 0.39 –0.52 –0.62*
W 0.35 0.15 0.10 0.76* 0.48
FIBER –0.31 –0.92* –0.13 0.16 –0.01
1 and 2 refer to warp and weft directions, respectively.
* Highest loading factor for each fabric mechanical parameter.
TRJ 422 Textile Research Journal 76(5)

(a) Component 1 There is a negative correlation of RC with fabric thickness
(Tm or To); that is, when the fabric thickness increases, the
Component 1 accounted for 35.4% of the total explained fabric compression resilience is reduced. The possible expla-
variance for these 20 cotton denim fabrics and contains nation may be that highly compressed fabric (decreased
fourteen mechanical parameters. These parameters can be thickness) is accompanied by increased compression resil-
grouped into three areas, namely surface characteristics ience because of the finishing treatment applied to some of
(MIU1, MIU2, MMD2 and SMD2), compression proper- these cotton fabrics.
ties (LC, WC, RC, To and Tm) and tensile properties The third group accounted for 25% on Component 1 to
(EMT1, LT2, WT1 and RT1) and one parameter on bend- explain fabric extensibility. The tensile parameters EMT1
ing (B1). The distribution of each mechanical property for and WT1 are highly correlated, with correlation coefficient
Component 1 is shown in Figure 3. of 0.91. The negative value of EMT1 and WT1 with respect
The first group of surface properties accounted for 36% to Component 1 means that Component 1 is preferred for
of Component 1 to explain the fabric properties for the a less extensible fabric in the warp direction. This is true
twenty medium to heavy-weight cotton fabrics which are for these twenty cotton fabrics as the average warp extensi-
used for trousers and denim. Some denim fabrics are bility was 7.5% (1.5–11.3%) and the average weft extensi-
inserted with Lycra in the weft direction to make the denim bility was 15.1% (3.9–56%) greatly influenced by the Lycra
highly extensible in the weft direction. As such, the weft yarn inserted in the weft direction for some fabrics).
plays a significant role in these fabrics. This can be explained The relationship of RT1 and EMT1 has a negative cor-
in terms of the surface characteristics of MMD2 and SMD2 relation coefficient of –0.78 for these twenty cotton fabrics.
in Component 1. Both MMD2 and SMD2 show a significant Therefore, a negative correlation of EMT1 to Component
effect on surface properties for these denim fabrics because 1 would imply a positive correlation of RT1 to Component
of the insertion of Lycra yarn in the weft direction. 1. The reason is that the tensile resilience RT1 is a measure
Both MIU1 and MIU2 are included in the surface prop- of the recovery process in the force–extension curve. A
erties of the cotton fabrics which can be explained by the higher fabric extension means that the recovery process
fact that equal values of these parameters are obtained in will take a longer time and therefore less energy is recov-
the warp and weft directions. ered. The relationship between RT and EM is therefore
The second group accounted for 33% of Component 1 to negative.
explain fabric compression properties. Fabric thickness (To The last mechanical parameter in Component 1 is
and Tm both measured at different pressure) is correlated warp-bending rigidity (B1) which is positively correlated
with fabric weight to explain the fabric fineness, coarseness with Component 1. The explanation is that fabric bending
and roughness (for the denim fabrics). The positive correla- rigidity is correlated with fabric weight and the fabric
tion of LC and WC and negative correlation with RC can be weight in turn is correlated with fabric thickness. The
explained from the correlation matrix for these cotton fab- bending rigidity and thickness play an important role in
rics. Both LC and WC are related to measures of the energy fabric stiffness and softness and these two attributes are
used to compress the fabric up to 4.9 kPa pressure (under important elements when defining quality jean fabrics.
the compression–thickness curve).

Figure 3 Distribution of mechani-
cal properties for Component 1 on
cotton denim fabrics.
Multivariate Studies of Mechanical Properties for Wool and Cotton Fabrics J. K. C. Lam and R. Postle 423 TRJ

In summary, Component 1 contains fabric mechanical The positive correlation of B2 and 2HB2 with Compo-
parameters of tensile, compression, bending and surface nent 3 can explain the fabric properties of stiffness, hard-
properties in order to define medium to heavy-weight cot- ness and firmness, which are important attributes of
ton trouser and denim fabrics. Component 1 was therefore denim. Component 3 includes only the bending parame-
termed the “Basic Tensile, Compression, Bending and Sur- ters in the weft direction which can be explained by the
face Requirements” for medium to heavy-weight cotton importance of Lycra yarn added in the weft direction for
fabrics in the present work. these twenty cotton fabrics.
Components 3 contains mechanical parameters on
bending (weft direction) and shear for these medium to
(b) Component 2 heavy-weight cotton fabrics for denim and trousers and
was named “Shear and weft bending” in the present study.
Component 2 accounted for 19.6% total explained vari-
ance and consists of four mechanical parameters. Three
are tensile parameters, EMT2, WT2 and RT2, and the
fourth parameter is fiber composition (Fiber).
(d) Component 4
The three tensile parameters are all measured in the Component 4 accounted for 12.2% of total explained vari-
weft direction. EMT2 and WT2 are both negatively corre- ance and contains two mechanical parameters and one fab-
lated to Component 2 and RT2 is positively correlated to ric structural parameter. They are LT1, 2HB1 and W
Component 2. (fabric weight per unit area) and all are positively corre-
The negative correlation of EMT2 and WT2 to Compo- lated with Component 4.
nent 2 means that Component 2 is preferred for cotton The fabric weight (W) is one of the important structural
fabrics with moderate weft extension and tensile energy. parameters for the twenty medium to heavy-weight cotton
The weft extension for these twenty cotton fabrics ranges fabrics and has a high correlation with fabric thickness
from 3.9 to 56% with an average of 15.1%. This result may (Tm). The correlation between W and Tm is 0.90 and fab-
demonstrate that extremely high weft extension is not the ric weight explains the fabric properties of aerial density
key property in these cotton fabrics. and thickness.
The last parameter for Component 2 is fiber composi- The mechanical parameters of LT1 and 2HB1 are both
tion (Fiber). All fabrics for these twenty samples are pure measured in the warp direction. The correlation of LT1
cotton with some fabrics having the insertion of Lycra yarn and 2HB1 with Component 4 means that the tensile linear-
in the weft direction. If the correlation with pure cotton in ity and bending hysteresis in the warp direction have a sig-
the fiber composition is positive, then the correlation with nificant effect on Component 4.
Lycra in these fabrics would be negative. This means that Component 4 has two constituent mechanical parame-
the Lycra yarn used in the weft direction for these twenty ters in the warp direction and was named “Warp Tensile
cotton fabrics has a significant effect on Component 2. Linearity and Bending Hysteresis” in this study.
Since all the mechanical parameters in Component 2
represent tensile properties of fabric in the weft direction,
Component 2 in the present study was termed the “Weft (e) Component 5
Extension Properties”.
Component 5 accounted for 11.1% of total explained vari-
ance and it has three parameters, namely MMD1, SMD1
and EMC.
(c) Component 3 The first two parameters, MMD1 and SMD1, explain
Component 3 accounted for 17.1% of the total explained the fabric surface characteristics in the warp direction. For
variance and incorporates five mechanical parameters. Two these twenty medium to heavy-weight cotton fabrics for
parameters are for fabric bending (B2 and 2HB2) and three denim and trousers, the fabric surface characteristics are
parameters are for shear (G, 2HG and 2HG5). All five very important and the weft surface parameters of MIU2,
parameters are positively correlated with Component 3. MMD2 and SMD2 were already included in Component 1
The positive correlation of shear parameters with Com- in the present study. It can be seen that the weft direction
ponent 3 can explain the important fabric properties of plays a very significant role in explaining the fabric surface
fullness, firmness, hardness, crispness and stiffness for characteristics of these twenty cotton fabrics and therefore,
these twenty heavy-weight cotton fabrics for denim and they are placed in Component 1.
trousers. The product of shear rigidity and fabric extensi- The parameters of MMD1 and SMD1 in Component 5
bility may be related to the fabric formability in the bias or are used to supplement the explanation of fabric surface
diagonal direction of the fabric, which can be related to the characteristics in Component 1. Component 5 explains the
tailorability of these twenty heavy-weight cotton fabrics in surface roughness and deviation of coefficient of friction of
the making up process. these twenty cotton fabrics in the warp direction.
TRJ 424 Textile Research Journal 76(5)

Table 8 Summary of mechanical parameters for cotton denim fabrics.
Component Name Mechanical parameters Explained variance
1 Basic tensile, compression, bending and surface MIU1, MIU2, MMD2, SMD2, LC, WC, -RC, 35.4%
requirements To, Tm, -EMT1, -LT2, WT1, RT1, B1
2 Weft extension properties -EMT2,-WT2, RT2, -(Fiber) 19.6%
3 Shear and warp bending B2, 2HB2, G, 2HG, 2HG5 17.1%
4 Warp tensile linearity and bending hysteresis LT1, 2HB1, W 12.2%
5 Supplementary warp surface parameters MMD1, SMD1, 11.1%
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The last parameter in Component 5 is EMC, which is
negatively correlated with Component 5. The parameter
EMC measures the change in fabric thickness under differ-
The principal component analysis was found to be very
ent pressures. A negatively correlated value of EMC can
useful to analyse the complex, multi-dimensional relation-
imply that the fabric is highly pressed in finishing, the
space between each fiber is reduced and the fabric density ships of the fabric objective measurement (FOM) datasets
for both wool/wool-blend fabrics and cotton denim fabrics
is increased. As a result, fabric thickness decreases giving a
used for the present study.
negatively correlated value of EMC. The parameter EMC
As the principal component analysis is an independent
in Component 5 is used to supplement the parameters of
To and Tm in Component 1. technique and does not explicitly require the variable to be
divided into dependent and/or independent variables (as is
Component 5 in the present study was named “Supple-
normally required in multiple stepwise regression analy-
mentary Warp Surface Properties”
sis), this technique has potentially much greater applicabil-
ity to the specification of fabric quality along the textile
and apparel supply chain.
(f) Summary
Although the end use for the lightweight wool/wool-
The mechanical parameters included in each component blend fabrics is for suiting material and the cotton fabrics
to explain these twenty medium to heavy-weight cotton are used for denim casual wear, these two very different
denim and trouser fabrics are shown in Table 8. fabric groups showed certain similarities in terms of fabric
It should be noted that the Component 1 for these denim mechanical properties examined by the principal compo-
fabrics included surface characteristics, extensibility and nent analysis technique.
compression parameters. As denim is normally a strong stiff Firstly, fabric surface properties (MIU, MMD, SMD)
fabric, tensile and compression tests are important for represent an important component for both wool and cot-
denim. As most denim will have special finishing treatments ton fabrics. This surface component accounted for 17.4%
(e.g. washing and indigo dyeing), the surface characteristics (Component 2) of total population variance for wool/wool-
are important for high-quality denim or trouser fabrics. blend fabrics and a significant part of the 35% (Compo-
Components 1 and 2 together can account for 55% of nent 1) of total population variance for cotton fabrics.
the total variance implying that fabric objective measure- These fabric surface properties for wool fabrics can explain
ments such as tensile, compression and surface testing are the fabric smoothness and softness which are directly
essential for medium to heavy-weight cotton fabrics. related to the fabric handle. For the cotton fabrics, Com-
The use of Lycra in the weft yarn for some of these ponent 1 included fabric surface properties, compression
denim fabrics is reflected in Components 1 and 2 in the properties and fabric thickness which are essential proper-
present study. This elastic yarn has a significant effect on ties for the medium to heavy-weight cotton fabrics used for
fabric surface and mechanical properties as demonstrated denim and trousers for casual wear.
in this study. Secondly, the bending and shear properties (B2, 2HB2,
Since similar materials and production methods were G, 2HG, 2HG5) represent another important component
used for the 20 cotton denim fabrics, the principal compo- to explain the fabric quality and performance for both wool
nent analysis can successfully reduce the data set into five and cotton fabrics. These properties accounted for 17.1%
components explaining over 95% of the total population (Component 3) of total population variance for wool/wool-
variance. blend fabrics and 15.6% (Component 3) of total popula-
tion variance for cotton fabrics. These bending and shear
properties are important parameters to explain fabric
hardness, stiffness and tailorabity for these fabrics.
Multivariate Studies of Mechanical Properties for Wool and Cotton Fabrics J. K. C. Lam and R. Postle 425 TRJ

On the other hand, there are some unique features of Acknowledgements
these two kinds of fabrics. The medium to heavy-weight cot-
ton denim fabrics show strong fabric elasticity because of the The authors wish to acknowledge the sponsorship from the
insertion of Lycra yarn in the weft direction. This elastic Institute of Textiles and Clothing (ITC) at the Hong Kong
yarn has a significant effect on fabric mechanical properties Polytechnic University for providing partial financial sup-
and is shown in Component 2 (EMT2, WT2, RT2) in the port for this research work.
present study explaining 19.6% of population variance.
Another unique feature of these medium to heavy-weight
cotton denim fabrics is the fabric weight (W) in Component Literature Cited
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