Written By- Annu Taneja
(Guided by Ms Leela Taparia, Ms Monika Malik & Ms Sana Taj Sheikh)
Fabric identification is done with a simple technique known as burn test or fiber burn test, also known as Flammability Test. Basically, a burn test is done to identify the fabric that is unknown to determine if the fabric is a natural fiber, man made fiber, or a blend of natural and man made fibers. To identify the mixture of fabrics by burn test, the sample of fiber, yarn of fabric Should be burned and the reaction should be observed carefully, as the reactions differ from fabric to fabric.The burn test is commonly used by many designers and fabric stores to determine the exact fiber content.
Only a person with good experience can manage to get the exact results. If someone is new at this and is doing it for the first time, make sure to do it with someone who is experienced.
EQUIPMENT’S REQUIRED FOR BURN TEST
The basic equipments that you will need for a burn test are-
- Matches or a lighter to burn the fabric.
- A small container to hold the Piece of fabric you want to burn
- Tongs Or forceps to hold the fabric
Precautions to be taken-
- Keep some water close in case of excessive burning to control the flame.
- If you’re not an adult don’t do it alone, go grab someone.
- Use fireproof containers and avoid Plastic.
Things to be aware of before doing a burn test
- Natural fibers burns quickly with a yellow flame. The odour is usually same as a burning paper or hair. The ash is mostly soft and Gray.
- Synthetic Fibers usually shrinks away from the flame. The burn with an acid and have a chemical odour. The ash is like a plastic bead and is not soft.
HOW TO DO A BURN TEST
Cut the fabric into small swatches and hold it with the help of tongs from the corner, over your container. use the matchsticks and add flame at the corner of the fabric.
- Reaction to the flame.
- The smell of the burn.
- The ash.
OBSERVATION & CONCLUSION POST BURN TEST
1 . Cotton: Cotton is a natural fiber hence it burns quickly with the yellow flame and has an afterglow. It smells like a burning paper. The ash is light, feathery, greyish and the black ash denotes mercerised cotton.
2. Linen: Linen is a Natural fiber. It burns quickly (not as quick as cotton) With yellow flame. It also Smells like a burning paper and the ash is Light grey.
3. Silk: Silk is a natural fiber which comes under the category of animal fibres. It smolders and curls away from the flame.It sputters and burns slowly with difficulty. It smells like a burning feather or hair. The ash is rounded, crisp, shiny black beads and can be easily crashed.
4. Wool: Wool is again a natural fiber which comes under the category of animal fibers. It smoulders and curls away from the flame. It also flickers and stop burning when away from the flame. It smells like burning hair and the ash is usually crisp and dark.
5. Rayon: It is a regenerated Cellulose fiber. It burns rapidly (faster than cotton) With a yellow flame but has no after glow. The smell is same as a burning paper or leaves. It has a slight grey ash.
6. Nylon: Nylon melts and shrinks away from the flame. It stops burning When removed from the flame and smells like burning plastic. The ash is round, hark, bead which won’t crush.
7. Polyester: Polyesters are man made fibers. It fuses and shrinks away from the flame and melts burning slowly full stop. It burns with difficulty and the smell is slightly sweetish. The ash is hard, round, brittle, black bead Which won’t crush.
8. Acrylic: It catches flame quickly and burns rapidly with splutters. The smell is harsh and acrid. The ash is made up of uneven beads which do not crush.
9. Spandex: Spandex is a man made fiber. It fuses but does not shrink away from the flame and melts while burning. The odour is acrid. The ash is soft, fluffy, black and Sticky to touch.
SAFETY MEASURES WHILE PERFORMING BURN TEST
When dealing with flame, safety is of upmost importance. Be prepared with all the safety measures before doing the burn test. Sink is the safest place to do so. Use small pieces of fabrics instead of big ones. Always do it with someone who is experienced.
I hope the blog was an informative read….!!!
Go burn some fabric now to know the ACTUAL fiber content!!!
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