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Unlocking the Secrets of Fabric Thickness Testing: Methods, Importance, and Applications

What is Fabric Thickness

Fabric thickness refers to the distance between the two surfaces of a textile material when it is compressed under a specified pressure. It is typically measured in millimetres or inches. It is a crucial parameter in determining various properties of the fabric, including its thermal insulation, resilience, dimensional stability, stiffness, and abrasion resistance. Fabric thickness can vary depending on the type of fibres used, the weave or knit construction, yarn thickness, and finishing processes applied to the fabric.

Study on fabric thickness tester
Unlocking the Secrets of Fabric Thickness Testing: Methods, Importance, and Applications 3

Study on Fabric Thickness Tester

Fabric thickness testing is vital to textile evaluation, ensuring quality, compliance, and performance across various industries. Accurate methods and tools, such as fabric thickness testers, are essential for obtaining precise measurements. Callipers or micrometres are used to measure the thickness of a wire or a plate. However, using these things to measure the of its impossible since fabrics can compress during the measuring. Therefore, the measurement of it demands accuracy. Here’s a comprehensive guide to it testing:

The following points need to be considered in fabric thickness measurement.

1.  Shape and size of the pressure foot:

Usually, a circular foot with a diameter of 3/8 inch is used. The ratio between the foot diameter to the cloth thickness should not be less than 5:1.

2.  Shape and size of the anvil:

If the anvil is of circular type, its diameter should be at least two inches greater than the pressure foot. When the sample is larger than the anvil, a smooth plane board may conveniently surround the anvil for suitable support for the cloth.

3.  Applied pressure:

Suitable weight may be added to the pressure foot, and preferred pressure may be applied.

4.  Velocity of pressure foot:

The pressure foot should be lowered onto the sample very slowly (at a rate of 2/1000 inch per sec) and carefully.

5.  Time:

The thickness is read from the dial of the instrument only when the pointer ceased variations and not earlier.

6.  Indication of thickness:

Usually, a clock-type dial gauge is built into the thickness tester. It should be rigidly mounted in a suitable frame. After setting the dial to zero, the instrument must be capable of measuring to an accuracy of 1% for fabrics over 0.1 millimetres in thickness and to 0.001 mm of fabrics which are not excluding 0.1 millimetres in thickness.

Method of Measuring Fabric Thickness


Working principle of Fabric thickness tester

Fabric Thickness tester
Unlocking the Secrets of Fabric Thickness Testing: Methods, Importance, and Applications 4
  1. The presser foot and anvil are cleaned with clean paper.
  2. If required, weights are added to the presser foot, and the gauge is set to read zero.
  3. No specimen preparation is required. But selvedges and creased areas should be avoided.
  4. If possible, the cloth may be conditioned for about 24 hours in a standard atmosphere.
  5. At least, thickness is measured at 5 places, and the mean value is reported.
  6. In the test report, details of the pressure, size of the presser foot and the time should be given.

Uses of fabric thickness tester

1. Checking Conformity to Specifications:

  • Ensuring quality and consistency: Fabric manufacturers and brands set specific product thickness standards to maintain consistent quality and meet customer expectations. Measuring fabric thickness helps verify that the final product meets these specifications. 

  • Fabric thickness gauge checking fabric.

  • Regulatory compliance: In some industries, specific regulations mandate minimum or maximum thickness requirements for certain fabrics. Measuring thickness ensures compliance with these regulations and avoids potential legal or safety issues.

2. Studying Fabric Properties:

  • Thermal insulation: Thicker fabrics generally offer better thermal insulation, trapping air and keeping the wearer warm. Understanding fabric thickness is essential for evaluating and designing garments for different climates and activities.  Down puffer jacket with high thermal insulation

  • Resilience: The ability of a fabric to bounce back after compression or stretching is called resilience. Thickness can influence resilience, with thicker fabrics often exhibiting better shape retention.

  • Dimensional stability: Fabrics that resist shrinking, stretching, or warping are dimensionally stable. Thickness is a factor that can affect dimensional stability, and understanding this relationship is crucial for garment construction and performance.

  • Fabric stiffness: Fabrics with greater thickness generally have a firmer texture than those with a lower thickness. The flowing silk dress you mentioned is made of a thin fabric that allows it to drape elegantly and move gracefully with your body.

  • Abrasion resistance: Thicker fabrics are generally more resistant to wear and tear than thinner ones. Measuring fabric thickness helps predict its durability and suitability for different applications.

3. Studying Fabric Geometry:

  • Understanding fabric structure: thickness is influenced by the weave or knit construction, yarn thickness, and fibre density. Analyzing fabric thickness can provide insights into the underlying fabric structure and its mechanical properties.

  • Modelling fabric behaviour: It is essential for creating accurate computer fabric behaviour models. These models can simulate garment drapes, predict fabric performance, and optimize textile design.
Fabric thickness is crucial in the textile industry as it affects quality, compliance, and properties. It provides valuable insights for manufacturers, designers, and researchers.

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