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Martindale Method of Abrasion and Pilling Testing ISO 12945-2:2020

This standard specifies the use of the modified Martindale method to determine the fabric resistance to abrasion, pilling, or felting performance of the determination method. It is also known as the Martindale Method of Abrasion &Pilling Testing.

Citation Standards
ISO 139/GB/T 6529 Standard Atmosphere for Moisture Conditioning and Testing of Textiles

ISO 12945-4, Textiles – Determination of abrasion, pilling, or felting properties of fabrics – Part 4: Visual assessment of abrasion, pilling, and felting properties

ISO 12947-1:1998/GB/T 21196.1 Textiles Determination of the abrasion resistance of fabrics by the Martindale method Part 1: Martindale abrasion testers


Martindale Abrasion Test

(Part Of A Martindale Tester)


1. Definition of the Martindale Test

Hair Ball: fiber tangles to form a projection on the surface of the fabric, dense and light can not pass through and produce a projection of the ball.
Note: Such changes may occur in the washing, dry cleaning, wearing, or use process.

Pilling: the process of the surface of the fabric to produce hairball.
Abrasion: fabric surface fiber projection or fiber ends protruding from the visible surface changes produced by the formation of plush.
Note: Such changes may occur in the washing, dry cleaning, wearing, or use process.
Felting: pile fabric on the projection of fibers tangled together to form the visible surface changes
Note: Such changes may occur in the washing, dry cleaning, wearing, or use process.

Pilling Friction Number: The number of revolutions of the two outer drive wheels of the Martindale Tester.
Pilling Cycle: 16 revolutions of the two outer drive wheels of the Martindale abrasion tester and 15 revolutions of the inner drive wheels. That is the pilling friction number of the formation of a complete Lissajous figure.

the trajectory of the formation of a complete Lissajous figure required 16 times friction, that is, Martindale wears a test instrument with two outer drive wheel rotations at 16 revolutions, and the inner drive wheel rotation at 15 revolutions.


Abrasion& Pilling


2. Principle of Martindale Rub Test

A circular sample is rubbed against the same fabric or wool abrasive fabric in a Lissajous pattern trajectory under a defined pressure. The sample is free to rotate around a central axis perpendicular to the sample plane. After a defined rubbing phase, the sample is evaluated for abrasion, pilling, or felting by means of a visual description.

3. Martindale Tester

The Martindale Tester consists of a base plate and a drive unit. The drive unit consists of two external drives and one internal drive, which allows the sample fixture guide to move according to the Lissajous pattern. The sample fixture guide is driven by a drive unit to move in a plane, and each point on the guide depicts the same Lissajous figure.

The Lissajous motion is a graph formed by changing motion from a circle to a gradually narrowing ellipse until it becomes a straight line and then asymptotes from this line in reverse to a widened ellipse until a circle, repeating the motion in diagonal.

The sample fixture guide plate is fitted with a bearing housing and low-friction bearings to drive the sample fixture pins. The lowermost end of each sample fixture pin is inserted into its corresponding sample fixture sleeve, and the sample fixture consists of the main body, a sample fixture ring, and an optional loading block.

The instrument is equipped with a presettable counting device to record the number of revolutions for each external drive. One revolution is one friction and 16 frictions form a complete Lissajous pattern.

Martindale Abrasion and Pilling Tester

(Martindale Abrasion  and Pilling Tester)


4. Drive and Base Plate configuration of  Martindale Pilling Tester

Drive: The sample fixture guide drives the sample fixture pin movement, and the movement of the sample fixture is generated by the following devices.
The distance between the drive axes of the two outer synchronous drives and their central axes is (12±0.25) mm.
The distance of the drive axes of the inner drive device from its central axis is (12±0.25) mm.
The maximum dynamic range of the sample fixture guide along the longitudinal and transverse rows is (24±0.5)mm.

Counter: counting the number of pilling, accurate to 1
Pilling Plate, each set contains the following components.
The Pilling Plate (see Figure 1).
Clamping ring (see Figure 2).
Clamping device for fixing the clamping ring.

The Pilling Plate

The Clamping Ring

Sample Fixture Guide: The sample fixture guide is a flat metal plate with three guides that restrain the drives. These drives work in conjunction with each other to ensure uniform, smooth, low-vibration movement of the sample fixture guides.

The sample fixture pins are inserted into the axle sleeve fixed to the guides and placed in the center of each grinding table. Each sleeve is equipped with two bearings. The pin is free to move within the sleeve without clearance.

sample fixture: For each working configuration, the sample fixture consists of the following components.

  1. a) sample fixture (see Figure 3).
  2. b) sample fixture ring.
  3. c) sample fixture guide shaft.

The total mass of the sample fixture with the sample fixture guide shaft and sample fixture ring should be (155±1)g.

The Sample Fixture

Loading Block: consists of a stainless steel disc that can be loaded onto each sample fixture of the instrument (see Figure 4). Its mass is (260±1) g. The total mass of the sample fixture and loading block is (415±2) g.

sample Mounting Aid: the equipment required to ensure that the sample mounted in the sample fixture is free of wrinkles (see Figure 5).

The Loading Block

Sample Mounting Aid

5. Rating Light Box (GB/T4802.2-2008)

Illumination with a white fluorescent tube or bulb ensures uniform illumination over the entire width of the sample and should satisfy the observer not to look directly at the light. The position of the light source and the plane of the sample should be maintained at 5º~15°. The distance between the eye and the sample for normal corrected vision should be 30 cm~50 cm.

 Rating of Samples

6. Test auxiliary materials for the Martindale Test

Felt: round as specified in ISO 12947-1/GB/T 21196.1, as a set of sample support.

Dimensions are as follows

  1. a) Top (sample fixture): diameter (90 ± 1) mm.
  2. b) Bottom (pilling table): diameter 140(0,+5)mm.

If the quality and/or thickness of the felt changes so that it no longer meets the requirements of ISO 12947-1:1998, Table 2, it shall be replaced.

The felt should not have any visible surface changes, e.g. varying thickness.


Abrasives of Martindale Test

For friction samples, the same fabric as the sample is usually used as the abrasive. In some cases, such as decorative fabrics, using ISO 12947-1/GB/T 21196.1 in the wool fabric abrasives, each test requires a new abrasive. The abrasive selected needs to be indicated in the test report.

A circular abrasive with a diameter of 140 (0,+5) mm or a square abrasive with a side length of (150±2) mm is mounted on each table.



7. Sample Preparation for the Martindale Test

7.1 Pre-treatment of Laboratory sample

Laboratory samples may be pretreated by washing or dry cleaning before cutting the sample, using conditions that are consistent with the end use of the fabric or mutually agreed upon method. When pretreatment is performed, the sample being tested should be evaluated in comparison to the sample that has been pretreated. If no specific pretreatment agreement is reached between the parties involved, the test sample is tested as received.

Regardless of the pretreatment, laboratory samples should be humidified before testing.

Note: The pretreatment procedures described in the appropriate sections of ISO 6330, ISO 3175, GB/T 8629, or GB/T 19981 may apply, these are some Martindale abrasion test standards.

7.2 Sampling

Samples are taken from an area evenly spaced across the width of the fabric or from three different panels of the garment. Stagger the samples in such a way that no two samples contain the same yarn. Avoid areas with wrinkles and other distortions. Unless otherwise stated, samples should not be taken at a distance of one-tenth of the fabric width from the edge of the fabric. To avoid stretching the sample, the tension applied to the sample during sampling should be as small as possible.

The diameter of the sample in the sample fixture is 140(0,+5) mm. If necessary, to prevent puckering due to loose fibers/yarns interfering with the rubbing area of the sample, the edges of the sample can be fixed (e.g. by gluing, and fixing with tape). The sample on the pilling table can be either a circle with a diameter of 140(0,+5) mm or a square with a side length of (150±2) mm.

7.3 Number of samples for  the Martindale Rub Test

A minimum of 3 sets of samples are required, each set containing 2 samples, 1 in the sample fixture and 1 as abrasive on the pilling table. If wool fabric abrasives are used on the pilling table, at least 3 samples are required for testing. If more than 3 samples are tested, an odd number of samples should be taken. An additional sample should be taken for the comparison of the rating.

7.4 Sample marking

Before taking the sample, mark the same point on the back of each sample and laboratory sample (including the reference sample) to ensure that the sample is evaluated along the same yarn direction when grading. The markings made should not interfere with the conduct of the test.

8. Humidification and test atmosphere

Humidification and test atmosphere adopt the standard atmosphere specified by ISO 139/GB/T 6529, and the samples and abrasives should be humidified for at least 16 hours before the test.

9. Martindale  Test Process

9.1 General Provisions

Check the Martindale Abrasion Tester by ISO 12947-1/GB/T 21196.1. Check the auxiliary materials used after each test and replace any worn or stained materials. For light-knitted fabrics, special care is required to avoid the appearance of significant stretching.


9.2 Installation of samples of Martindale Test

sample installation

Remove the fixture ring and guide shaft from the sample fixture. Place the sample mounting aid with the small end down on the platform, put the sample fixture ring on the surface of the aid, and roll it from the bottom up to the large diameter of the aid.

Turn the sample fixture over and place a circular felt with a diameter of (90±1) mm in the center of its concave surface. Place a 140(0,+5)mm diameter sample face up in the middle of the felt, allowing the excess sample to extend out from the sides of the sample fixture to ensure that the sample completely covers the recessed portion of the sample fixture.

The large diameter end of the auxiliary device is placed on top of the surface of the sample fixture with the felt and sample. The mass of the auxiliary device and its overhang above the edge of the sample fixture surface serve to equalize the tension across the sample surface. Roll the sample fixture ring into the groove of the sample fixture, thus holding the sample in place and ensuring that the sample and felt pad do not move and are not deformed.

Repeat the above steps to install additional samples. If desired (see Appendix A), place a loading block in the groove of the sample holder. Place the guide shaft of the sample fixture in the upper groove of the sample fixture.

9.3 Mounting of samples on the pilling plate

Place a piece of felt of 140(0,+5)mm diameter on the pilling plate and place the sample or wool fabric abrasive on it, with the abrasive side of the sample or wool fabric abrasive facing up. Put a pressurized hammer on the sample or abrasive and fix it with a clamp ring.

9.4 Pilling Test

Test until the first rubbing stage (see Appendix A). The sample is evaluated for the first time according to the provisions of clause 10. The evaluation does not require the sample to be removed from the sample fixture or the surface of the sample to be cleaned.  After evaluation, return the sample fixture to its original test position. If required, continue the test, evaluating the pilling rating for each rubbing stage until the end of the final rubbing stage in Appendix A.   Gently remove any loose fibers or debris from the abrasive surface.  Sometimes, it is not possible to evaluate the sample because of bonding in the friction area between the fibers of the top and bottom samples. In such cases, the results before this stage should be used on the report and a note should be made on the report stating “sample could not be evaluated due to bonding between the fabrics”.

10. Abrasion &Pilling  Performance Evaluation

10.1 ISO 12945-2:2020

The abrasion, pilling, and felting properties of the samples are evaluated separately by eye by ISO 12945-4. If the parties concerned agree, additional evaluations can be carried out with instruments.

 10.2 GB/T 4802.2-2008

The rating box should be placed in a dark room.

Along the longitudinal direction of the fabric, place the tested sample and an untested sample (with or without pre-treatment) side by side in the middle of the sample plate of the rating box.

If necessary, use tape to secure them in the correct position. The tested sample is placed on the left and the untested sample is placed on the right. If the test sample was pretreated before the pilling test, the comparison sample should also be the pretreated sample. If the test sample was not pretreated before testing, the comparison sample should be the unprepared sample.

To prevent direct lighting, each sample was observed directly from the front of the sample at the edge of the rating box.

Each sample is graded according to the number of grades listed in Table 1. If between two grades, record a half grade, e.g., 3.5.

Note 1: Due to the subjective nature of the rating, it is recommended that at least 2 people perform the rating.

Note 2: Sample photos may be used with the consent of the parties involved to demonstrate the rating method as originally described.

Note 3: An alternative assessment can be made by rotating the sample until more severe pilling is observed. This type of evaluation can provide data in extreme cases, such as turning the sample surface to a horizontal plane for observation.

Note 4: Record any other conditions in which the surface changes.

Table 1 Visual Description Ratings

10.3 Results of the Martindale Test 

ISO 12945-2:2020

For each surface appearance (i.e., abrasion, pilling, and felting), record the grade for each sample. Calculate the average of all samples for each surface appearance separately: abrasion, linting, and felting properties. If the average is not a whole number, it is rounded to the next half-grade. No single test result can be more than half a grade from the average of the four sample results. If more than half a grade is exceeded, the grade of each sample must be reported.

Table 2 is an assessment form template.

Table 2 The Results of Each Evaluation Phase

GB/T 4802.2-2008

Record the number of grades for each sample, the rating of a single person as the average of their rating of all samples.

The test result of the sample is the average of all personnel ratings, if the average is not a whole number, modified to the nearest 0.5 grade and indicated by “-“, such as 3-4,. If the difference between a single test result and the average is more than half a grade, the grade of each sample should be reported at the same time.

10.4 Report on Martindale Test

The test report should include the following information.

a) The number and year of this test method, for example, ISO 12945-2:2020, GB/T 4802.2-2008.

b) Description of the laboratory sample.

c) Details of the pretreatment, if any, of the laboratory sample.

d) Number of samples.

e) Type of abrasive.

f) Weight of the load.

g) for each stage, the individual sample abrasion grade, pilling grade, and felting grade (according to ISO 12945-4) and the relevant stage (number of rubs)

h)Test date.

i) for each stage, the average number of grades of abrasion, pilling, and felting (modified to the nearest half grade) of the surface changes associated with the specimens evaluated according to ISO 12945-4 (and when evaluated according to the apparatus) and the associated stage (number of rubs).

j) Details of any deviations from this standard.

k) Any unusual features observed (e.g. hairballs on the abrasive).

Appendix A

Unless otherwise specified, different types of textiles should be tested by Table 3 for pilling.

Classification of the Pilling Test


(1) The experiment shows that the test results and the actual wearing effect have a better correlation when the number of friction reaches 7000. Because rubbing  2000 times to produce the hairball, continue to rub up to 7000 times, it may be worn off.

(2) For fabrics in categories 2 and 3, the friction is not less than 2000 times. The pilling grade observed in the evaluation stage of the agreement is 4-5 or more, also can terminate the test before 7000 rubbings (after reaching the specified number of rubbings, regardless of good or bad pilling can terminate the test).

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