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Durability of Handmade Wool Carpets: A


S. K. Gupta , K. K. Goswami & A. Majumdar

Uttar Pradesh Technical University, Sitapur Road, Lucknow, Uttar

Pradesh, India

Indian Institute of Carpet Technology, Chauri Road, S. R. N.

Bhadohi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Department of Textile Technology, Indian Institute of Technology,

Hauz Khas, New Delhi, India
Published online: 24 Aug 2015.

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To cite this article: S. K. Gupta, K. K. Goswami & A. Majumdar (2015) Durability of Handmade Wool
Carpets: A Review, Journal of Natural Fibers, 12:5, 399-418, DOI: 10.1080/15440478.2014.945226
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Journal of Natural Fibers, 12:399418, 2015

Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 1544-0478 print/1544-046X online
DOI: 10.1080/15440478.2014.945226

Durability of Handmade Wool Carpets: A Review

S. K. Gupta,1 K. K. Goswami,2 and A. Majumdar3
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Uttar Pradesh Technical University, Sitapur Road, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
Indian Institute of Carpet Technology, Chauri Road, S. R. N. Bhadohi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Department of Textile Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, Hauz Khas, New Delhi, India

This paper presents various aspects related to the durability characteristics of handmade carpets. Various
kinds of materials and knots used in handmade carpet have been explained at the beginning. Then
the mechanism of carpet durability has been explained with respect to mechanical and appearance
aspects. The various techniques for measuring the mechanical and appearance related durability characteristics have also been presented in this article. Finally, the influence of wool fibre, yarn, and carpet
structural parameters on the durability has been explained. The shortcomings in terms of durability,
characterization of carpets, and scope of further research have been presented at the end of the review.
Keywords: carpet appearance, carpet constructional parameters, carpet durability, carpet manufacturing
techniques, handmade carpets, types of knots

In the field of floor covering, carpets are very popular due to its comfort, thermal and resilience
properties. Carpet is having a use-surface composed of textile material. Here use-surface means that
part of a textile floor covering directly exposed to traffic. Carpets are classified into two groups,
namely pile carpets and without pile carpets (IS: 11205 1984). There are several carpet manufacturing methods such as knotting, tufting, weaving, knitting, braiding, needle felting, fusion bonding,
and flocking. Handmade carpets are manufactured in three different ways: knotted (Persian, Tibetan,
etc.), flat weave (broad loom carpets, saggy, durry, etc.) and tufting (hand tufting, needle tufting).
Knotting is an extensively used method for carpet manufacturing. The raw materials commonly
Address correspondence to S. K. Gupta, Research Scholar, Uttar Pradesh Technical University, Institute of Engineering
and Technology Campus, Sitapur Road, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226 021, India. E-mail:
Color versions of one or more of the figures in the article can be found online at


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used in manufacturing of handmade carpets are wool, silk, polypropylene, and nylon as pile fibers.
Cotton, jute, polyester, and polypropylene fibers are used as carpet backing. Wool in pile yarn is
extensively used in handmade carpets because of excellent properties like hand, durability, stainresistance, dyeability, flame resistance, insulation, static generation, and biodegradability (Goswami
2009). There is a strong influence of carpet aesthetics in the form of color, design, and texture on
purchase decision-making process. However, customers always try to maintain a balance between
aesthetics and performance of handmade carpets. Fiber qualities, carpet constructional parameters,
backing techniques, etc., have strong influences on carpet performance (Cegielka 1988). Poor wear
(shedding) and abrasion performance of carpet is still the most common problem. Carpet durability
is defined as the wear life of a carpet in given situations. The wear performance of carpets can be
divided in two aspects, i.e., appearance retention (relatively more important in early stages of wear
life of a carpet) and durability (relevant in the later stages of wear life). There are several tests for
measuring carpet durability, such as compression and recovery characteristics, thickness loss under
dynamic loading, thickness loss, and recovery after prolonged heavy static loading, surface pile mass
density factor, abrasion resistance, tuft bind, appearance retention, etc. It is possible to predict carpet
durability with the help of these parameters. This review focuses on the durability characteristics of
handmade wool carpets.


Generally carpets are divided into two groups on the basis of its manufacturing techniques:
handmade and machine-made carpets. Handmade carpets are manufactured in three different ways:
knotted, flat weave, and tufting. The manufacturing techniques of hand-knotted carpets have not
changed greatly over centuries because it consists of independent knots and a complex mechanism
to tie these knots. There are no machines that can create knots in the same way as human fingers
do. A handmade carpet consists of two parts, the first one is the carpet backing manufactured by
warp and weft threads and the second one is the carpet pile formed by knotting threads. The texture of hand-knotted carpets is formed by the independent knots. Turkish or Ghiordes, Persian or
Sehna, Tibetan, Spanish, and Kiwi knot structures are used in handmade carpet industry. Among
these, Turkish and Persian knots are extensively used in handmade carpet sector (Crawshaw 2002;
Goswami 2009; Liu et al. 2002; Topalbekiroglu et al. 2005). The Turkish knot is created by wrapping
the tuft around two adjacent warp threads by an angle of 3/2 radians each, as shown in Figure 1.
The Persian knots is created by wrapping the tuft around one warp thread at an angle of 2 radians
and then around another adjacent warp thread at an angle of radians, as depicted in Figure 2.
The Turkish knot appears to be more secure, but the Persian knot is more suitable for finer carpet
constructions. To create fullness in backing, one of a pair of weft may be pulled tightly to straighten
it and to make the other weft crimped. This arrangement also changes the levels of alternate warp
ends, so that a knot may be inclined to the left or the right, depending on which pair of warp ends

FIGURE 1 Turkish knot.



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FIGURE 2 Persian knot.

FIGURE 3 Tibetan knot (Source: Goswami 2009).

FIGURE 4 Spanish knot.

is selected for knotting. It is also known for there to be one, two, or three weft shots between each
row of tufts, and this can affect the levels of warps and therefore the detailed geometry of the tufts.
The Jufti system of knotting, devised to accelerate production, involves looping the pile around four
warp ends rather than two. It can be applied equally to Turkish or Persian style knots. Clearly, the
Jufti knot is unsuitable for producing carpets with fine design, but the lack of quality is usually
compensated by providing a thick pile.
The Tibetan knot incorporates a remarkable combination of Persian and Turkish knots and a
simple U-tuft. A steel rod is placed in front of the warp and a piece of pile yarn, which may be
fairly long depending on the requirements of the design, is looped around two warp ends above the
rod, over the front of the rod and then around the same two warp ends, but below the rod. At the
beginning of each row, and before each color change, a special, more secure knot is tied which wraps
one of the warp yarns once and the other, twice. When the rod is full, a knife is run along it to cut
the pile; the rod is removed and the pile is beaten down. Tibetan carpets, shown in Figure 3, are
typically thick and heavy.
The Spanish knot is created by wrapping the tuft at 3 radians around one warp thread, as
depicted in Figure 4. This type of knot is rarely used today.
The Kiwi knot, as shown in Figure 5, is created by a total wrapping angle of 3 radians for the tuft
around the two warp threads, in which the tuft wraps one warp thread by an angle of 3/2 radians
whereas an adjacent warp thread is wrapped by an angle of radians by one leg of the tuft and by
an angle of /2 radians by the second leg of the tuft.
Hand-knotted carpets demonstrate good dimensional stability because tufts are highly secured
and the carpet is densely woven. Thus, carpet backing is not required.



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FIGURE 5 Kiwi knot.

FIGURE 6 The Structure of India knot (Source: Goswami 2009).

A new knot was developed, known as India Knot (Goswami and Bhar 2008). This knot uses the
doup mechanism to permit movement of pile yarn from one side to the other, as shown in Figure 6.

Handlooms for carpet manufacturing are either horizontal or vertical. The parts of horizontal looms
are pegged to any convenient depth of ground. The drawback of this type of loom is that the
carpet length is restricted by the reach of the weaver and, therefore, relatively small rugs can be
manufactured on such looms.
The vertical loom, as shown in Figure 7, consists of two posts which are supported with horizontal
rollers (one considered as let-off roller and other take-up roller). The let-off roller is holding warp
which are stretched between it and the take-up roller. When the carpet is manufactured, it is taken
up by the take-up roller and the warp is released from the let-off roller. In industries, the loom
is generally kept as 1218 feet in height to accommodate the full size of carpet and the warp is
tensioned accordingly. In such cases, several weavers are working together on the same carpet and
they move from the base of the loom to work on simple gantries as the carpet grows. The Reed
is used to maintain a uniform spacing and to prevent entanglement of warp ends. The shedding
mechanism consists of two wooden rods inserted horizontally through the warp. The warp ends pass
alternately in front of or behind one rod and on the reverse side of the other. By moving one of the
rods relative to the other, a shed is formed through which weft can be inserted to create the backing
structure. A reverse shed is created by pulling harness yarns linked to the alternate warps that are at
the back (away from the weaver) when the original shed is formed.
A new carpet loom known as cross-bar horizontal has been developed, shown in Figure 8. The
advantages of this type of loom are better productivity and easier working conditions for the weaver
due to improved loom design (Goswami et al. 2006).
The sequences of operations for manufacturing of hand knotted, hand tufted, and loom-made
carpets (broad loom techniques) were described (Goswami 2009). The process sequences for manufacturing of hand-knotted carpets involves prewarping operations, warping on rods, postwarping
operations, on loom operations, carpet weaving preparatory on loom, operations of knotting on

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FIGURE 7 Vertical loom (Source: Goswami 2013).

FIGURE 8 Cross-bar horizontal hand-knotted carpet loom (Source: Goswami 2009).


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FIGURE 9 (a) & (b): Operational views of hand-tufted carpet (Source: Goswami 2013).

loom, measurement and control of pile height, knot density, waste dimension, etc., binding and
inspection, deloom of carpet, carpet washing, and finishing.
To produce hand-tufted carpet, pile yarn is inserted into primary backing fabric with the help of
tufting gun, as shown in Figure 9 (a) & (b). The process sequences for manufacturing of hand-tufted
carpets are: framing of primary fabric, inspection and analysis of backing fabrics (primary,
secondary, and tertiary) and yarn used for tufting, maintenance of tufting gun, design tracing over
primary fabric, tufting over primary fabric, application of latex on carpet backing and then drying
of carpets. Chauhan (1997) also documented equipment and processes related to winding, tufting,
chemical coating (latex), embossing, packing, and quality control for manufacturing of hand-tufted
Flat weave refers to a carpet weaving technique where knots are not used so that carpet surface
looks flat. A flat weave carpet is manufactured by interlocking warp (vertical) and weft (horizontal)
threads. The warp strands are used as the base and the weft stands are used both as part of the
base and to create the patterns. The weft strands are simply passing through the warp strands. The
oriental flat woven carpet includes kilim, soumak, plain weave, and tapestry weaves. The European



flat woven carpets include Venetian, Dutch, damask, list, haircloth, and ingrain (double cloth or twoply, triple cloth or three-ply). Flat woven rugs are generally less expensive than knotted rugs because
its take less time to weave.

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Wool, silk, polypropylene, acrylic, and nylon are used as pile fibers whereas cotton, jute, polyester,
and polypropylene fibers are used in carpet backing. Silk fibers are used as pile yarns in valuable
carpets. Mostly cotton yarns are used as the warp and weft due to their good tenacity and low strain
(Moghassem and Gharehaghaji 2008).
The 100% polyester spun yarns are also used in hand-knotted carpets as warp and thin weft
(untwisted strands inserted slack in a carpet). Usually 6580% polyester fibers with cotton are used
as the warp yarns. These types of yarns improve strength, elongation, work of rupture and abrasion
resistance warp and thin weft yarns. Therefore, the usage of polyester fibers in the warp and thin weft
increase the production and weavers convenience due to reduced yarn breakage. The disadvantage
of using polyester fiber in thin weft and warp yarn is the surface deformation of carpets with the
application of irregular heating. The bending length also increases in the warp and weft direction
when the percentage of polyester fiber increases in comparison with 100% cotton warp and thin weft
yarns (Kamali et al. 2005).
The most common fiber used for producing pile yarn is wool. In the carpet industry, the mixed
coarse and fine wool fibers are used as carpet pile yarns when their resiliency, dyeability, fiber length,
number of crimps, vegetable trash percentages, tenacity, elongation, and fineness are compatible.
Nowadays, slipe wool fiber is mixed with virgin wool fiber and used as carpet pile yarn (Mirzalili
and Sharzehee 2005).

Wilding et al. (1990) reported various causes of appearance loss in tufted pile carpets during its
wear. The factors are shading, loss of tuft definition, soiling, staining, fading, loss of pile height
through fiber damage, and other factors such as fiber cross-section, optical properties of fibers, carpet
construction etc. A shaded cut pile carpet shows areas which are lighter or darker than the nearby
carpet pile. This difference is caused by the reflection of light from pile tufts which lie in different
directions. The meaning of tuft definition in any carpet is the distinctness of individual tufts. The
reasons behind loss of tuft definition are yarn twist loss at tips, tuft partition into single yarns,
disorientation near the base of pile through buckling, entangling, flattening or ballooning of yarn,
uneven wear in blended piles, and loss of fiber crimp (complete or partial).
The carpet ability for maintaining a clean look depends considerably on three factors: the type of
dirt particles, its easiness to take away, and ability to conceal remaining particles. Staining involves
chemical bonding of staining substances to carpet fibers. Fading can be very serious where some
areas of a carpets surface are regularly exposed to sunlight. Fading problem can be reduced, to
some extent, by the correct choice of fiber type and dye material. Fiber shortening due to fatigue,
fracture, and abrasion is the main cause behind loss of pile thickness. In addition to the direct effect
on carpet appearance, it can also create fragments within the pile which contributes further to the
loss of aesthetic quality.
Wood (1993) reported various parameters for characterizing the textural properties of new and
worn carpets. These parameters are tuft definition, lightness, periodicity, directionality, coarseness,
pile coherence, and the presence of localized and extended features for describing carpet pile texture.



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Carnaby and Wood (1989) also reported that factors such as abrasive wear, shedding, pile compaction, development of surface faults, shading, soiling, color loss, and pattern clarity are affecting
carpet appearance change during wear. Numerous newly installed carpets, mainly with a cut pile,
tend to lose apparently large amounts of fiber during the first few weeks on the floor. This effect is
called shedding or fluffing. All carpets made from spun yarns with natural or man-made fibers tend
to shed or lose fiber. This is a characteristic of the yarn and carpet manufacturing method rather than
of the fiber type. Cut pile carpets tend to shed more than loop pile carpets because cutting the yarn
produces a certain amount of short fiber at the ends of the tufts which are not held in the backing.
Usually one or both ends of the fiber are held in loop pile carpets. For the same reason, high pile
carpets shed more than carpets with a short pile. Higher levels of twist in a yarn tend to reduce
shedding. Denser carpets also shed less as expected than openly constructed carpets.


Carpet durability can be divided into mechanical and optical aspects. Mechanical properties are used
to explain walking comfort and abrasion-related wear and optical properties are used to explain
carpet appearance or aesthetics. Carnaby and Wood (1989) reported that the mechanical properties
of carpet durability are classified into resilience (compression and recovery behavior of each pile),
inelastic mechanism (flattening), and fatigue mechanism (abrasive pile loss). Resilience is the ability
of carpet pile to return to its original state after deformation. The reasons behind the carpet flattening
are frictional slippage between fibers inside yarns through yarn bending and between yarns as the
pile yarns slip past each other and viscoelastic properties of pile yarns. There is production and loss
of short fiber segments, which are not anchored to the carpet backing. These short fiber segments
occur when a fiber ruptures along its length. Fatigue mechanism in wool fibers is preceded by a series
that consists initially cuticle failure, followed by fibrillation loss along the cell-wall membranes and
finally fracture in the fibrillated region.
Dayiary et al. (2009) investigated pile yarn actions under a compressive load and they presented
a pile bend mechanism as follows. There are triple processes in cut-pile carpet deformation. In the
first process, load is growing followed by deflection of pile while a bend occurs along its length
(Figure 10). During second process, the pile changes from a bend shape to two sectional shapes
including a straight part in top and a curved part in base (Figure 11). In the third process, the two
sectional forms bend further leaning towards the base (Figure 12).
In optical properties of carpet durability, the appearance of a new carpet, and the changes throughout wear is observed. It depends on the way in which light interacts with the pile fibers. Light is either
absorbed or reflected by the carpet surface. Light transmitted by one fiber may be reflected, transmitted or absorbed by the next fiber until it is either totally absorbed or emerges outside as transmitted
light. When carpet absorbs more light, then it loses brightness. The effect of the reflected light on

FIGURE 10 Beginning of load: (a) New carpet. (b) Worn carpet.



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FIGURE 11 Pile deflection.

FIGURE 12 Final location (deformation in jamming mode).

carpet lustre depends on how it is reflected. It will be either diffusely or specularly reflected. In the
case of diffused light, a low level of light is returning in haphazard orders. Specular light is reflected
from fiber surfaces either externally or internally. When it is reflected from a plane face, the light
will emerge as lustre. The size of the lustre point will depend on the size of the plane area that is
sloping to reflect incoming light toward the viewer (Werny 1985).


Carpet durability measurements are based on wear performance testing, which measures the number
of steps to wear a carpet to its backing, the rate of thickness loss or weight change. Long-term
durability is certainly an essential property of a carpet. However, its appearance can be considerably
changed so that it loses its visual appeal and probably will be replaced regardless of its residual
mechanical properties. In the carpet industry, it is frequently acknowledged that carpet does not wear
out, it uglies out. It is, therefore, not illogical to assume that a carpets life is mostly determined
by its appearance retention rather than its long-term durability.

There are subjective or objective techniques to assess carpet appearance retention by inspecting
textural changes between a control and a worn sample.
Subjective Method
In this method a carpet or its picture is compared with standard samples or photographs to identify a
grade standing for a class of appearance. A subjective method for testing service wear of textile floor
coverings is guided by ES ISO 9405 (2013). This International Standard describes the procedures for

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assessing the overall change in appearance of textile floor coverings caused by Vettermann drum and
hexapod tumbler testers in accordance with ISO 10361 or other appropriate methods. The change
in appearance of a specimen after a process of fatiguing is assessed by visual comparison with
standard digital image scales. The dominant factors (structure, roughness, color, and/or pattern) of
the change are observed and recorded. At least three assessors grade the specimens independently.
If the difference between the individual ratings within an assessing team is greater than one grade,
then the number of assessors is increased by two. Overall change in appearance can be graded from
reference scales
Miller (2002) proposed quad analysis procedure to evaluate subjective properties. This is a competent way to carry out paired comparisons for quantifying such properties. He also introduced an
expansion of quad analysis to grade order the subjective properties of larger datasets by quad folding
of one quad design into another.
There is immense value of subjective evaluations on the whole description of textile products,
but this is time-consuming, boring, complex, and costly. The responses are also highly divergent,
so a large number of tests are usually essential to attain an acceptable level of statistical reliability
(Slater 1997).
Due to above disadvantages of subjective evaluations, trustworthy instrumental methods have
been developed to evaluate carpet appearance, which have vital implications for product characterization and quality control.
Objective Method
There are several instrumental methods to measure carpet appearance characteristics objectively.
These are listed below:

Glass bead filling
Image analysis

Wilding et al. (1990) inspected the control and worn carpet samples visually by photography methods. A Nikon FE camera with a 55-mm macro lens was used for photographic evidence of carpet
face exterior. Macro photography was also used for examining tuft profiles obtained by removing
sections from the carpets.
Wilding et al. (1990) used two types of microscopy namely, optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to examine control and worn carpet samples.The samples were initially
investigated by an Olympus SZ stereo-zoom microscope at low magnification for finding out the
general appearance and array of the tufts within the pile and then the pile yarns and fibers were
viewed using an Olympus BHSP polarizing microscope at higher magnifications. Finally, individual tufts were detached from carpet samples. The tufts were severed as close as possible to the
backing fabric and identification of tip and bottom part of each tuft was carefully preserved. Each
tuft was investigated to evaluate changes in yarn twist and tuft integrity at medium magnification



besides checking the crimp loss and damage of fibers at higher magnification. SEM investigations
of detached tufts were also done with an ISI 100 A microscope. The tufts were removed in a similar
manner as for optical microscopy.

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Mukhopadhyay et al. (1993) described densitometry technique to investigate carpet faces textural
changes due to wear. A computer controlled densitometer was used for this experiment. Unfiltered
white (tungsten filament) light was formed into rays of rectangular cross-section, by means of
collimating optics. This light scans the photographic negative under inspection. Output from the
instrument is processed for giving optical density variation. An adjustable slit controls the extent
of the scanned area and resolution. A dark spot on the negative corresponds to a light spot on the
carpet. The darker areas on the carpet occur in regions between tufts, whereas the tuft tips are lighter
areas. Therefore, each major peak on the graph represents a tuft. The distance between two minimum points (valleys) on the densitometer chart corresponds to the distance between two dark areas
with a bright area (or tuft) between them.
Jose et al. (1988) used a recording goniophotometer built by HunterLab to obtain reflectance readings on the actual carpet samples. A goniophotometer is used to measure the light reflectance of
carpet surfaces by using a fixed angle of incidence and a varying angle of detection. This method
is more comprehensive than conventional reflectometers, colorimeters, and gloss or lustre meters,
all of which fix the angular geometry of light source versus viewing detector. In actual condition,
carpet appearance is judged over a whole range of viewing angles. The phenomenon of shading in
cut pile carpet is an obvious and important illustration of differences in carpet appearance caused by
the relative viewing and pile orientation angles.
Glass Bead Filling
This technique was earlier reported for the measurements of specific volume of yarns (Carnaby
1974). Same technique was adapted to measure carpet texture during wear (Carnaby and Thomas
1978). The degree of pile openness or closeness (the amount of void space within the pile), an
important carpet textural property, was considered. The bead fluid frictional resistance was used to
detain the beads in the carpet voids between the individual tufts for testing purpose. In this regard,
carpet was placed on an even plane and then excess of the beads were poured to overfill the voids.
Then the carpet was sloped gradually until all the beads above the plane of the pile top drop. The
slope angle was not too steep so that the beads between the tufts were supported and stay put in the
carpet. The mass of beads retained by the carpet can be calculated by weighing the carpet before
and after this process. This gives an assessment of the volume of the spaces between the tufts. Glass
beads graded to 40 meshes ( 370 m) had been found suitable for this testing. This technique is
not suitable for bend yarns or for carpets with little tuft densities as the gaps between the tufts are
very large, therefore there is too much beads loss during sloping of the carpets. The disadvantage of
this method is its sensitivity.
Lamb et al. (1993) developed a simple and inexpensive instrument that directs a beam of light onto
the carpet face. The intensity of the scattered light was examined by a photometer. Mechanical
stresses due to traffic generate more curved filaments in the tufts, therefore light reflection will be



greater than before. A halogen lamp with fiber optics was used to throw powerful light rays onto
the carpet surface. The incidence and detection angles were varied independently over a range of
180o. The carpet specimen was set on a turntable, which was rotated constantly during investigation.
Therefore, the light intensity sensed by the detector fluctuates as the carpet tufts are presented to the
ray at diverse angles.

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Image Analysis
Among all objective methods for examining carpet appearance, image analysis technique has shown
immense prospects. Parameters from digitized images can be calculated using a powerful PC with
suitable algorithms. These image parameters are capable to enumerate carpet appearance change
(Steenlandt et al. 1996).
Ulcay and Altun (2006) reviewed various image processing techniques for measuring carpet
appearance loss with use. They also classified various image operations into the following three
1. Point operations: These operations are employed on individual pixel and using the information connected with that pixel only.
2. Neighborhood operations: These operations alter the value of a pixel taking into relation of
the neighborhood pixels.
3. Global operations: These operations alter the value of all image pixels.
Xu (1994) also reviewed various carpet characteristics and applied image analysis methods as
presented in Table 1.
The common approach in digital image processing is to recognize parameters that consistently
distinguish dissimilar carpet textures due to different levels of wear. However, no single parameter is competent to describe the appearance distinctiveness totally for any type of carpet (Wood
Presley (1997) discussed the changes caused in texture periodicity of worn carpets using morphological covariance and compared the results with subjective human evaluation. The influences of
structural variables, i.e., pile weight, ply twist, linear density, and wear level on carpet performance
were measured using this technique. Jose et al. (1986) analyzed real carpet samples and their
photographs with computerized image analysis technique. The differences of carpet appearance
were assessed in terms of textural changes caused by pile/tuft definition or coherence. Appearance
changes, tuft spacing differences, and related carpet properties were connected with gray level
histograms. As the spacing between tufts decreases, the frequency of pixels at the darker gray levels
decreases whereas the frequencies of pixels at the lighter gray levels increase. This effect is stronger
in actual carpet samples than their photographs. Wang and Wood (1994) reported a new method to
investigate carpet texture changes with Fourier power spectra of control and worn carpets images.
The algorithm was tested experimentally using a range of carpet types, together with those that have
not been easy to compute with other image analysis algorithms. The new measure agrees well with
the subjective sense of tuft texture change. Xu (1997) applied fractal dimension method for measuring carpets surface roughness to examine carpets appearance loss due to mechanical wear. Presley
(1997) examined the texture of various nylon cut-pile carpets due to mechanical wear with covariance and co-occurrence techniques of image analysis and compared the results with the subjective
Wu et al. (1990) confirmed that color imaging with digital processing and enhancement techniques offers a great possibility to evaluate appearance changes in carpet objectively. This can be
used to both new and worn carpets. They also confirmed the importance of tuft geometry dimensions


Local intensity variation

(LIV) (Wood &
Hodgson 1989)
Image moments
(Pourdeyhimi et al.

Tuft definition
Tuft evenness (Wu
et al. 1991)
Distance measure
(Pourdeyhimi et al.
Spatial density
(Pourdeyhimi et al.

Shape analysis (Wu

et al. 1991)

Tuft placement

Size measurement (Wu

et al. 1991)

Tuft geometry
Fourier transform
(Wood 1990)
function (Wood
Image covariance
(Sobus et al.
matrix (Wood
1990, Sobus et al.


Neighboring gray
level dependence
statistics (Siew
et al. 1988)

Run length matrix

(Siew et al. 1988)


Pile-lay orientation
Flow-field analysis
(Pourdeyhimi et al.

Carpet characteristics and applied image analysis techniques (Source: Xu 1994)

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Normalize relief
et al. 1993)
Fractal dimension
et al. 1993)




as a reasonable successor to bulk histogram data. When the carpet was worn then definite trends in
tuft size distribution was seen as a result of changed appearance.

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Numerous types of forces such as axial compression, bending, flattening, and extension are acting on
piles throughout carpet wear. These forces are mostly produced by dynamic loading such as walking
or static loading by furniture, therefore carpet thickness will be reduced. One of the most essential
carpet quality attributes is thickness loss through static and dynamic loads. Lower thickness loss
implies superior resilience and durability. The carpets compression properties can be calculated by
following test methods.
Carpet Thickness, Compression, and Recovery Characteristics
BS 4098 (1975) specifies a method for measuring these carpet parameters as depicted in Figure 13.
Here t2 is the initial thickness at 2 kPa pressure (point A).
t200 is the compressed thickness at 200 kPa pressure (point B).
tr is the recovered thickness at 2 kPa pressure after loading to 200 kPa pressure (point E).
Compression (t2 - t200 ): The change in thickness of the textile floor covering when the pressure
is increased from 2 kPa to 200 kPa.
Work of Compression: The work done on the textile floor covering when the pressure is
increased from 2 kPa to 200 kPa, i.e. the area under the load-compression curves e.g. area
Percentage Thickness Recovery (100 tr / t2 ):The thickness to which the textile floor covering
recovers when the pressure is diminished from 200 kPa to 2 kPa, expressed as a percentage of
the initial thickness.
Percentage Compression Recovery: The change in thickness when the pressure is diminished
from 200 kPa to 2 kPa, expressed as a percentage of the compression. Numerically it is
expressed as [(tr - t200 )/ (t2 - t200 )] 100.
Percentage Work Recovery: This is estimated by the ratio of the work of recovery to the work
of compression, e.g., 100 area CDE/area ABC.

FIGURE 13 Typical thickness-pressure curve for textile floor coverings (Source: BS 4098 1975).



Determination of Thickness Loss Under Dynamic Loading

In this method, a weight-piece by means of two steel feet on its base is dropped on to the specimen
repetitively. Thus the specimen is subjected to cyclic loading-unloading action. The specimen is
also traversed gradually so that vertical shearing forces created by edges of the feet operate on the
necessary area of the specimen. The thickness of the specimen is calculated before and subsequent
to treatment (BS/ISO 2094 1999).

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Determination of Thickness Loss and Recovery After Prolonged Heavy Static Loading
In this method, a test specimen is subjected to a prolonged heavy static loading treatment and thickness is calculated before loading and after various recovery periods. Static loading machine is able
to apply a pressure of 700 kPa (ISO 3416 1986).

One aspect of durability is the risk of removal of cut-pile tufts or laddering of loop-pile constructions in wear. Tuft bind or ``pile-withdrawal strength is commonly measured on finished carpets
(Harrison 2003). Tuft bind (or the tuft withdrawal force) is related to the manufacturing of the carpet
and it has an effect on durability. Pulling out of tufts creates holes in the carpet and consequently
the carpet may wear out prematurely. In loop pile carpets, ``laddering`` can reveal a line of missing
loops. The WIRA Tuft Withdrawal Tensometer measures the requisite force for pulling out a single
tuft or loop of pile from a carpet, i.e., the binding force between the carpet pile and backing. The
instrument is used either on small samples of carpet in the laboratory or in chosen positions on big
pieces. The carpet sample is detained downward with a steel plate. A couple of surgical tongs are
clamped to one end of the tuft to be tested or a hook threaded through one loop. The tongs or hook
is connected to a dial balance which is raised at stable speed by a small electric motor. Therefore,
tension on the tuft or loop is increased and the pointer on the balance indicates the maximum force
required for pulling out of tuft (BS 5229 1975). It is suggested by IWS test method 202 the minimum tuft-withdrawal force for woven carpets, tufted carpets (cut pile) and tufted carpets (loop pile)
should be 3.5 N, 10.0 N, and 20.0 N, respectively (IWS/TM-202 2001).


A durability parameter called surface pile mass density (P2 /t) enables to predict the wear performance of wool carpets where P is the surface pile mass (in g/m2 ) and t is the pile thickness in mm.
Usually higher the value of P2 /t, larger the projected wear life of a wool carpet. This was validated
by the International Wool Secretariat (IWS) through wide-ranging floor trials and laboratory testing.
IWS TM-234 and 142 specifies methods for measuring surface pile weight (per unit area) and pile
thickness of textile floor coverings. Another predictor of wear life that has been used is P2 /t divided
by a fiber factor called wear index (Crawshaw 2002). Fiber factors used in EN 1307 are given in
Table 2. Fiber factor is used for calculating wear index of any carpet taking consideration of fiber as
factor. For example, same values of P2 /t for Nylon BCF and Wool carpets; the wear index of Nylon
BCF carpet is 1.9 times greater than Wool carpets due to difference in values of fiber factor.
WIRA Abrasion Tester
WIRA abrasion test is also extensively used for wool carpet durability measurement. Carpet samples
in the shape of small discs are rubbed against an abrasive fabric for a specified number of revolutions.



Fiber factor of various pile fibers (Source: Crawshaw 2002)
Pile fiber

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Nylon BCF
Nylon staple
Polypropylene BCF
Polypropylene staple
Polyester staple
Acrylic staple

Fiber factor

Pile fiber

Fiber factor


Modified viscose staple
Modacrylic staple

Pro rata

The earlier edition of the test used to determine the number of machine revolutions required by the
carpet sample to attain its end point where the backing is just noticeable as the tufts abrade away.
At the present edition, the sample is abraded up to 5000 revolutions and the resulting loss of fiber
from the pile is calculated (IWS/TM-283 2000).
A weight loss of approximately 55 mg per 1000 revolutions is considered to be acceptable by
Wools of New Zealand based on industrial experience whereas higher than 70 mg/1000 revolutions
indicates major fiber damage.


Wool Fiber Parameters
Ince and Ryder (1984) investigated the effect of various wool fiber properties formed by geneticselection experiments in which fleece properties could be altered by breeding. The performance
properties of yarns and carpets manufactured from these wools were examined. They reported that
fiber shedding from the carpet in the early stages of wear was due to higher percentage of short fiber
in wools. The coarser and more medullated fibers manufactured a weaker carpet yarn. Improved
set yarns were manufactured from the bulky or crimpy wools and subsequently carpets having ideal
appearance were manufactured from these yarns. There was a significant relationship between fiber
diameter and carpet abrasion. The abrasion behavior (number of revolutions required to reach carpet
backing) found for carpets made from finer wools (nonmedullated New Zealand Romney Wool)
showed better results than carpets made from coarser wools (Drysdale and British Mountain wools).
They also reported that medullated wools enhanced carpet-compression characteristics. The color
of wool does not influence the carpet performance. However, color of wool plays a significant role
while the fibers are selected. It has been reported that an increase in percentage of slipe wool causes
an increase in compression and matting and also reduction in elastic recovery of pile yarn (Mirzalili
and Sharzehee 2005; Moghassem and Gharehaghaji 2008). Gupta et al. (1998) also studied the effect
of fiber diameter and medullation on mechanical processing and quality performance of carpets.
They found a positive correlation among bulk of carpets with fiber diameter and medullation. They
also reported that more volume per unit mass of carpet produced if fibers have higher medullation
and large diameter. The collective result of fiber diameter and medullation percentage had positive
influence on compressibility. The carpet resiliency significantly increases but thickness loss after
dynamic loading reduces with increase in average fiber diameter and medullated fiber content in
the blends. Shakyawar et al. (2006) evaluated 62 different carpet samples for Carpet Aesthetic
Value (CAV) and Carpet Hand Value (CHV) subjectively by 10 different judges. They investigated
the influence of fiber mix, spinning system, yarn number, constructional parameters, and finishing
treatment on CHV of carpet. They reported that carpets made from synthetic fibers were ranked



very poor as compared to wool carpets because synthetic fibers do not have desirable attributes for
carpet construction.

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Woollen Yarn Parameters

Nilgn et al. (2012) reported that the compressed thickness of carpets manufactured from thicker
yarn is on higher side in comparison to that of carpet manufactured from finer yarn. This is due to the
bulkier construction and lesser carpet compressibility in case of thicker yarn. Onions et al. (1967)
reported that increase in yarn twist results in a lesser compression index because high-twist yarns
remain thick in elevated pressures. Arora et al. (1999) studied the influence of tuft constitution on
the functional and aesthetic properties of hand-woven carpets. They observed that carpets of variable
weight per unit area obtained by changing the tuft constitution, pile density, and pile height. They
also reported that pile density increases by increasing the number of folds and plies in the yarn,
which, in order, increases the resiliency and decreases the compressibility. Tuft withdrawal force
of carpet increases by increase in the number of plies and folds in yarn because of the improved
cohesion between the component yarns. There was less abrasion loss in carpets of more regular pile
surface (when using single ply yarn) than a reduced amount of regular pile surface (when using
plied yarn). Carpets manufactured from the plied yarn were favored from the handle point of view
but carpet appearance was judged better produced from single ply yarn.
The carpet manufactured from Dref II spun yarn was not favored by judges than carpets produced
from woollen spun yarns because of the presence of wrapper fibers in Dref spun yarns which diminish pile compressibility. The carpet possesses higher CHV manufactured from finer yarns than from
coarser yarn because of more number of piles per unit area which improves the resiliency and appeal
of the carpet (Shakyawar et al. 2006).
Handmade Carpet Constructional Parameters
Liu et al. (2002) compared tuft withdrawal forces of hand-knotted carpets manufactured by five
types of knots. Tuft-withdrawal force varies with the style, complexity, and total tuft wrapped angle
about the warp threads by the knots. They found that tuft-withdrawal force of Persian and Turkish
knots (``self-locking`` structures having more tuft security) are higher than that of Spanish knot
(simpler structure).
Goswami and Bhar (2008) reported the geometry of various binding mechanism for pile yarns.
A change of path that increases friction through varied geometric wrapping angles can result in
increased tuft withdrawal force values.
Pile height and knot density are two most important constructional parameters of handmade carpet which affect the carpet durability. Research indicated that the extent of carpet thickness loss in
the initial months of use was more in comparison to that occurred in later months. A linear relationship was found between the thickness and logarithm of the number of impacts on the carpet or the
number of people walking over the carpet (Cusick and Dawber 1964; Ince and Ryder 1984; Noonan
et al. 1975; Onions 1967). However, a dense carpet and short pile height will give less compression
and less loss of thickness after recovery. Loss of pile height after recovery increased with increase in
pile height (Cusick and Dawber 1964; Onions 1967). Studies show that the variation in pile height
and density per unit area result in a change in resilience and elastic recovery of the pile (Dunlop and
Jie 1989; Mirzalili and Sharzehee 2005). An increase in pile height improves the compressibility
of the carpet, but there is no observable change in its elastic recovery. Having more pile density
improves the piles elastic recovery, reduces the thickness variation of the carpet and increases the
stability factor.
Moghassem and Gharehaghaji (2008) investigated the effects of knot density, pile height and
percentage of slipe wool on the performance of hand woven carpet. They found that compression

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and matting of the pile yarn decreased and its elastic recovery increased with the increase in knot
density. Increase in pile height caused an increase in the degree of variation for carpet samples.
CHV increases with the increase in knottage upto 2300 knots/dm2 and increase in pile height upto
12 mm then starts decreasing. Carpet washing is an important finishing process. The objectives of
this process are to remove loose fiber, any surface debris picked off or singeing residues. Generally
3-types of washing practices used in carpet industries are normal washing, herbal washing, and
antique washing. Normal washing requires heavy rubbing and uses chemicals such as bleaching
powder, caustic soda, acetic acid, and softening paste. Herbal washing uses different natural products
like henna and ritha. Antique washing gives a particular shine to the carpet similar to many years of
foot traffic. Normal wash carpets showed higher CHV than the herbal and antique wash due to little
pile damage (Shakyawar et al. 2006).
Shakyawar et al. (2008) developed software for predicting abrasion loss and CHV of handknotted carpet with the help of C language. Fiber characteristics such as average fiber diameter
and medullation, construction parameters such as pile height, pile density, and carpet thickness
are required to predict these carpet performance parameters. They also reported that abrasion loss
mainly depends on fiber diameter and number of medullated fibers present in the yarn but CHV
depends on carpet constructional parameters such as pile height, pile density, and carpet thickness.
The software can predict abrasion loss and CHV within the range of error value.


Carpets should have high durability during use as it is costly home textile materials. There have
been difficulties in correlating laboratory tests with real carpets durability performance as well as
dissimilarity regarding key durability characteristic. Various carpet durability tests have been developed (e.g., surface pile mass density, WIRA abrasion tester, tuft bind, etc.) which illustrate very poor
correlation with real floor wear when diverse types of pile fibers are compared.
Ince and Ryder (1984) determined durability factor (D) for carpets made from experimental
wools. Durability factor classifies wool carpets in accordance with their end-uses. This is an index
and its not has any unit. The equation to calculate the durability factor is as follows:
D =

19 R + 1.4 P2 /t

where R = number of rubs on the WIRA Carpet Abrasion Machine and P2 /t = Surface pile mass
In the above durability factors, researchers had included only two durability parameters, i.e.,
WIRA abrasion-resistance test and surface pile mass density. Further research is needed to develop
a model by including more parameters so that the durability of handmade carpets can be predicted
on the basis of their uses.

The handmade carpet segment has immense scope of standardizing the product quality. The wear
life of handmade carpets depends mainly on its manufacturing technique and material and construction parameters. Fiber properties, yarn parameters, knots/tufts density, pile height etc. are some of
the parameters which largely influence the durability and cost of the handmade carpet. With the



advent of modern optical and image processing technologies, it has become possible to appraise the
appearance change of carpets objectively. Although a large number of research work has been published in the area of carpet durability measurement, laboratory test methods often fail to correlate
well with the actual use trials. Research work to correlate the durability of handmade carpets with
its structural and materials parameters is therefore needed.

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