Leather and Textiles Physical Property Measurement

Let us show you a range of possibilities of how to measure the physical properties of leather and textiles with a texture analyser.

Smooth and textured leather stitched together
Measure a selection of physical properties in a number of different ways

The textiles and leather industries employ millions of people worldwide, turning raw materials such as natural fibres (cotton and wool) and synthetic fibres (polyester) or treated, tanned hide into finished products such as clothes and footwear, using multiple complex processes.

Research and Development in the leather and textiles industries are now more important than ever before. Customers are driven to purchase eco-friendly alternatives to traditional materials, seeking out textiles that require a lower volume of water for growth (e.g. hemp as an alternative to cotton), recycled leather and textiles, textiles that consume a large amount of carbon dioxide during their growth (e.g. bamboo) and vegan alternatives to silk and leather. Vegan leathers were until recently made from PVC. However, novelty value and customers’ desire for reducing plastic manufacture, have caused plant-based leathers to become increasingly popular. These can be made from a wide variety of plant materials, including pineapples, apples and crop waste.1

These alternative materials must still perform satisfactorily, in applications that cause them to be subjected to high and fluctuating stresses, and frequently harsh environmental conditions.

Why test textiles and leather?

Within the textiles industry, the use of mechanical testing with a Texture Analyser helps to ensure consistently high quality of products at every stage from raw materials, to dyed fabrics and through to the finished product. The same is applicable to the leather industry. There are many specific test methods for each industry, including International Standard methods. Although they are generally grouped separately, the basic methods used for each have a lot of overlap. Testing these materials allows product quality to be monitored, the product standard to be assessed, to aid the research and development process and to know the performance of the product at every stage of its manufacture.

Tests that are performed using a Texture Analyser are mechanical in nature, measuring physical properties. Most commonly, these are destructive, including tear resistance, compressive strength, tensile strength and puncture resistance, well-suited to the high precision of this type of instrument.

The majority of these tests are not expensive or time consuming, and they provide valuable data regarding the properties of components, materials and completed products for either product development / routine process testing or quality control. When used in a quality control capacity, these tests help prevent faulty products from reaching the market. Leather and textiles testing ensures the products live up to the high expectations on the market and that they are strong and flexible enough to do the job that they were designed for.

Standard methods are widely used in industry. They are not compulsory, acting instead as guidelines for materials that have to meet certain requirements and safety laws. Standards specify the conditioning processes, test instruments used and test atmosphere and conditions required for repeatability between laboratories.

Alternative methods to standards are possible whereby a test can be created that focusses on a particular property that needs to be measured or a quality issue that needs to be identified. Empirical or imitative methods can be developed easily and bespoke probes and fixtures created to support a material in a particular way that necessitates its successful testing.

Over the years we’ve worked with top scientists and companies in many industries to develop new fixtures to measure specific product properties. When the test solution doesn’t exist we go ahead and develop it and add it to our growing number of Community Registered Designs, testament to our leading innovative approach to finding the right solutions to a customer’s testing needs.

A wide range of leather and textiles test methods (including ASTM, ISO AND TAPPI Standards) is built into Exponent Texture Analyser software and will automatically load at the click of a button. We help make your testing quicker to access and the analysis of your product properties already prepared for you.

Typical measurements include: • Tensile Strength • Leather loop compression • Flexibility • Softness • Bagginess • Creep • Stitch tear resistance • Stitch line tear • Burst test • T-peel • Adhesive Peel Strength • Elongation • Modulus • Strength/Distension of Grain • Adhesion of finish • Baumann tear

A selection of special attachments and typical measurements which are commonly used in this application area are shown, although this does not necessarily include the complete range available for the testing of leather and textiles. Test procedures include: compression, puncture / penetration, tension, fracture / bending, extrusion, cutting / shearing. Any of the texture analyser range can be used for the product tests listed.

Tensile Test (strip method)

Tensile Test
(strip method)

Example standards: ISO 13934-1, ASTM D5035, ISO 3376, ASTM D2209

Measures tensile strength of ravelled or wet fabrics

Tensile Test (grab method)

Tensile Test
(grab method)

Example standards ISO 13934-2, ASTM D2208

Measures tensile strength with fabric overhanging gripped region

Stitch Line Tear

Stitch Line Tear

Example standard: BS 51319

Used for measurement of the strength of upper or lining material at the stitch line of footwear originating from either a single or multiple holes in the sample.

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Example standard: ISO 3378

This is also known as the 'Ball Burst Test' and identifies the strength and distension of the grain.

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Bagginess Test

Bagginess Test

Example standard: EN14689

This rig meets the CEN Standard for determining the bagginess of leather together with its creep and stress relaxation properties after repeated loading.

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Leather and textiles testing using a Texture Analyser
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