You are on page 1of 29


Testing of fibres is required for determining their quality. Unless quality of raw material is not controlled it will not be possible to get a quality finished product. We can broadly divide fibre testing in two categories Testing of Cotton Fibre Testing of Man-made Fibres

Quality Evaluation of Cotton Fibre

Following are the main properties of cotton fibre Fibre length Fibre fineness Fibre strength Maturity of cotton Colour Trash%


Fibre length in case of cotton is considered to be most important from spinning point of view. Selection of cotton at the field was based on the staple length . Earlier length of cotton fibres was measured by Baer Sorter Diagram and was expressed as mean length & Effective length. Now-a-days length is measured by Fibrograph and is termed as span length Results are commonly expressed as 2.5 % SL, 50 % SL & Uniformity Ratio

2.5 % SL, 50 % SL & UR

A span length is that length which a certain percentage of fibres from the original fibre population would span when caught at random along their lengths. Directly related to its spinning performance. Longer cotton can be spun in finer yarns.

Machinery Setting and speeds are decided on the basis of fibre length.
Uniformity Ratio = (50 % SL/2.5 % SL)X100

Span Length


Fineness i.e the linear density or weight per unit length of cotton fibre is measured by Air Flow method & instrument is called Fineness Meter. Fineness of cotton is expressed in microgram/inch (Micronaire).

Some times it is also expressed in milli tex. Fineness can be measured by measuring length & weight of fibre but this is very time consuming , therefore , now a days fineness is measured by indirect method Air flow principle
Some of the instruments based on this principle are Sheffiled micronaire ATIRA fineness tester Arealometer


A sample of known weight is compressed in a cylinder to a known volume and subjected to an air current at a known pressure . The rate of air flow through porous plug of fibre is measured, the flow meter often being calibrated in terms of fineness instead of volume per unit time .

Rating of Mic

Below 3 Very Fine 3 to 3.9 Fine 4 to 4.9- Avg Finee 5 to 5.9- Coarse 6 and above- Very coarse

While mixing different varieties of cotton , it is advisable to mix cotton of same micronaire value ,otherwise the yarn becomes uneven with more number of neps. The result of the difference of the micronaire value of the cotton taken for mixing is more than the difference in the fibre length.


When the given cotton is used for spun finer and finer yarns , the no. of fibres in the cross section decreases and therefore irregularity increases until a point is reached when spinning of further finer yarn is impracticable. This point or limit is known as spinning limit. if a given count is spun from a fine and coarse fibre , a more uniform and stronger yarn can be produced from the fine fibre .

The fibre fineness also affects :

The Torsional rigidity-resistance to twisting -A fibre having higher torsional rigidity i.e. higher resistance to twisting will be difficult to spin because spinning necessarily involves the twisting of the fibre. The stiffness resistance to bending -A stiff fibre will affect the ability of the fabric to drape and hang gracefully.


Strength of fibre is important as yarn strength and fabric strength depend upon the fibre strength. The strength can be tested by testing single fibre or by bundle of fibres. In case of cotton bundle strength testing is more popular . Strength of cotton is measured by stelometer. This is expressed in Gm per Tex.

Mass stress or Specific Stress & tenacity

The cross section of many fibres are irregular in shape and difficult to measure . To simplify, the linear density of the specimen, a dimension related to cross section is used, the linear density may be expressed in denier or tex count. Therefore , it is convenient to use a quantity based on the mass of the specimen. This is termed as the mass stress or specific stress and is defined as the ratio between the force applied and the linear density. i.e. Mass Stress = Force Applied /Mass per unit length = Force Applied / Linear density Tenacity : The tenacity of a material is the mass stress at break, the units being gms per denier or gms per tex. .


The fibre strength testing can be done in the following two ways : Single Fibre Strength Testing Bundle (group ) fibre strength testing The unit from which many yarns and textile structures are built is single fibre . the strength of fibre is expressed in terms of either tenacity (gms/ denier or gms /tex ) or breaking length (in Km) The bundle strength measured at 1/8 inch (3 mm ) gauge length has better correlation with yarn strength than the strength measured at other gauge length.

Bundle Strength

Instruments used to determine the bundle strength of fibres. 1) Pressley Tester 2 ) Stelometer
Pressley Tester: Balance type tester ,works on principle of moments.

O Gauge Test : -The pressley tester tests a small flat bundle of fibres gripped between special clamps known as pressley clamps. A small tuft of fibres are selected at random and manipulated into a parallel ribbon about 1/4 inch wide . The top jaws of the clamps are then pressed over the fibres and tightened to a predetermined limit using a wrench. Now a fringe of fibres will protrude from each side of the clamp. These fibres are trimmed-off using a knife.
3 mm Gauge Test:A plate of 3 mm is placed between the clamps.
STELOMETER : The instrument works on the pendulum lever

principle with a constant rate of loading of the fibres. The force acting on the fibre is proportional to the sine of the angle through which the pendulum has moved from the vertical position.

Single fibre strength Vs Bundle fibre strength :

Cosider two yarns A and B , of same count , Yarn A spun from fine fibres and yarn B spun from coarse fibres. The yarns are tested for their strength in terms of breaking length. The breaking length of fine fibres is generally higher than that of coarse fibres. Hence , Yarn A will show more strength than yarn B.

If the individual fibre strength of fine and coarse fibres are tested, then the coarse fibres will show more strength.

Therefore, in the selection of raw materials ,knowledge of the comparative strength of available strength is extremely useful. This can be done either by single fibre testing or by group fibre testing.

Single Fibre Testing V/s Bundle Fibre Strength

The behavior of fibre and its several properties viz. Extension, elastic recovery, yield point etc. under different condition of loading can be studied which is not possible for the group of fibres. Since the strength of yarn also depends on other factors such as fineness of the material ,number of fibres in cross section ,the surface character of fibre ,the inter fibre friction , the cohesion and also twist factor adopted during spinning and hence it is better to get bundle strength which has better correlation for yarn strength and therefore useful for mill purposes.

Factors influencing tensile test results

Time taken to break the specimen Length of the test specimen Conditioning Rate of traverse/ loading Gauge length Jaw holding the fibres Jaw pressure,

Maturity of cotton depends upon cell wall thickening .
Depending upon thickness of wall , the fibres can be characterized as mature , Immature , Half mature fibres.

In order to determine maturity 500-600 fibres are examined under microscope after treating in 18 % caustic soda soln .The presence or absence of convolutions is observed and fibres are classified as: 1) Mature or Normal fibres ( Appears as rod like ) 2) Immature or dead fibres (Appears like ribbon) 3) Half mature or Thin walled fibres (Lying between above two classes)
Maturity Ratio(M) : The percentage of three classes of fibres are combined into a single index termed maturity ratio and is app. Proportional to the degree of cell wall thickening. M=(N-D)/200 +0.7 If 100 fibres are examined from the cotton crop grown under the best conditions , the normal fibres(N) expected would be 67 % and dead fibres to be 7%. Maturity Co-efficient,Mc = ( N+0.6H+0.4I)/100

N= Percentage of mature fibres H= Percentage of half mature fibres

Other methods

Differential Dyeing methods

Mature & Immature fibres differ in their behaviour towards various dyes .This difference between the dyeing properties of mature and immature fibres is employed to give the visual indication.

Causticare method

When cotton fibres are treated with caustic soda , swelling of the fibres takes place. This swelling will be more in the case of mature fibres and less in case of immature fibres.Because of swelling , the dimensions of the mature fibres will be increased and immature fibres will have ribbon like surface.

Polarised light method


Affects the quality of yarn Causes Nepping Tendency and processing trouble specially in case of fine cotton . Neps may be seen as specks in the dyed cloth May cause shade variation after dyeing

Nowadays the above properties are measured by HVI which is an automated version of the above facilities. Advantage with this instrument is that a large no. of samples can be tested in a relatively short time. Therefore , it is possible to test each & every bale in a modern textile mill with this instrument. This instrument can also give Colour Index of cotton.
The determination of fineness of a cotton is affected by maturity of sample as immature fibre will show a lower weight per unit length than a mature fibre of the same cotton as immature fibre will have less deposition of cellulose inside the fibre.


Trash% in cotton is not a fibre property. Necessary from commercial as well as quality point of view. Measured by an instrument called Trash Analyzer which works on the principle of BUOYANCY SEPARATION (Air floatation principle) by use of air currents.


Normally, 100-200 gm. cotton is tested for determining the trash %. The care is taken so that no trash is lost in handling. Lint Content : The portion consisting of cotton fibres separated from the specimen and free from trash. Trash Content: The amount of material other than fibres collected from the specimen in test.


Assess the capacity of existing machinery on any particular class of cotton. Determine the state of cleanliness of the product at any stage of processing Ascertain the quantity of spinnable fibre in the waste from any production machine Determine the loss of Good fibres in the sequence of opening and cleaning process.

Quality Evaluation of Man-made Fibres

In case of man-made fibre following are important parameters

Mean length Denier Tenacity & Elongation Crimp

Mean Length

Mean length is important for the manmade fibres as machine setting depends on fibre length . Unlike cotton fibre, in case of man made fibre length is more or less uniform . Therefore , mean length is determined by measuring single fibres.


In case of man made fibres , fineness is commonly expressed as denier i.e. weight of 9000 meter of length in gms . This can be done by measuring the length and weight of no. of fibres directly. Now a days this is measured by using resonance principle on vibroscope instrument.


Tenacity and elongation are another very much important properties which are altering yarn strength and elongation. Stronger the fibre , stronger fabrics can be made from this. Tenacity & elongation of man made fibre are measured by breaking single fibre on a tensile testing machine. This is expressed as gm/denier.


Crimp properties of the fibres are important for converting this into yarn & are expressed as crimp% or crimp recovery%. Crimp % expresses extent of crimpiness in fibre where as crimp recovery refers to recovery of crimp after an application of stress%. Crimp % C = (l-p)/pX100

Moisture Regain

Moisture regain% of fibres is very important as this has commercial importance & also effects behaviour of fibres. Standard moisture regain of some of the fibres are given below (at 65% RH & 27 C). Cotton Wool Nylon 8.5% 17-18% 4-5% Viscose Polyester Acrylic 11.0% 0.4% 1.5

Moisture regain is determined by difference in weight of fibres at standard condition & after oven drying. Weight of sample at 65% RH Oven dry wt. MR% = ------------------------------------------------------- x 100 Oven dry weight