Martindale vs Wyzenbeek – Rub Test By Abrasion Explained

Both Wyzenbeek and Martindale are abrasion or rub tests. They are however different tests which test different properties and success in one test does not infer success in the other. Wyzenbeek involves rubbing along the warp and weft of the fabric whereas Martindale is a figure-8 rub. The video clip shows a testing machine in action…not very exciting stuff. This article continues and gives summary information to assist Interior Designers to specify the right levels of abrasion resistance – usually for upholstery.

In more detail then:

For Heavy Duty Usage you should specify:
30,000 double rubs Wyzenbeek method; or

40,000 cycles Martindale method.

End use examples of heavy-duty installations, where upholstery fabrics rated at 30,000 double rubs, should be appropriate are: single shift corporate, hotel rooms/suites; conference rooms; and dining area usage.

There are extreme wear situations that may require higher levels of abrasion resistance. End use examples that may require higher than 30,000 double rubs include: 24 hours transportation terminals, 24 hour telemarketing, 24 hour healthcare emergency rooms, 24 hour casino gambling areas, and such public gathering places as theatres, stadiums, lecture halls and fast food restaurants.

It is strongly suggested that double rubs exceeding 100,000 are not meaningful in providing additional value in use. Higher abrasion resistance does not necessarily indicate a significant extension of the service life of the fabric.

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The Wyzenbeek and Martindale tests are the two methods commonly used to predict wear-ability. Actual performance is determined by many factors such as fiber content, weaves, finishes, furniture design, maintenance, cleaning, and usage. Durability of an upholstery fabric is a complex interaction (combination) of a number of performance tests that, in addition to abrasion, includes seam slippage, piling, tensile strength, and usage.

There is no correlation between the Wyzenbeek and Martindale tests so it is not possible to estimate the number of cycles that would be achieved on one test if the results from the other test were known.

TEST METHODS
A Wyzenbeek machine is used for this test allowing sample of the test fabric to be pulled tight in a frame and held stationary. Individual test specimens cut from the warp and weft direction are then rubbed back and forth using an approved fabric as the abradant. The number of double rub cycles achieved before two yarn breaks occur or noticeable wear is observed is recorded as the fabric’s abrasion rating.

Martindale
This is an oscillating test. Fabric samples are mounted flat and rubbed in a figure eight like motion using a piece of worsted wool cloth as the abradant. The number of cycles that the fabric can endure before fabric shows objectionable change in appearance (yarn breaks, piling, holes) is counted. Number of cycles determines abrasion rating.

Inferring one result from another:

Despite what you will read on other web sites including the sites of some of the best known fabric houses in the world you simply cannot infer a Wyzenbeek score from a Martindale score or vice versa. However as said earlier for Heavy Duty usage you might specify: 30,000 double rubs Wyzenbeek method OR 40,000 cycles Martindale method. So in that sense you can say that for a certain level of usage the Martindale result needs to be 33% higher than the Wyzenbeek. But you CANNOT say that if a fabric scores 100,000 Wyzenbeek then there is no point in undertaking a Martindale test as you “know” its result would be 133,333 – that would simply be wrong; the Martindale could be higher or lower, you have to test it.

If this post does supply you with enough information please comment below or email us and we will expand it.

For more information on luxury cashmere throws or to request cuttings please visit www.kothea.com.  For black faux leather upholstery fabrics try <here> and for mohair velvet and mohair velvet upholstery fabric please follow the links.  Upholstery Linen is also one of our specialities as are luxury  silk velvet  fabrics.

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37 Comments

    • Hi Alan and also to everyone at Glen Raven fabrics in the USA.

      As you know, Wyzenbeek is relied upon by specifiers in serious contract markets such as hospitality in the USA. I would not have thought it wise to create doubts of the validity of the main abrasion standard that is widely used and widely accepted in that market.

      What would your experience be on this matter? Do you feel that the test and subsequent certification is inadequate or unreliable?

  1. Hallo,

    Is Martindale a person?
    If yes, where does he come from?
    Can you give me more information or a website where a find more about this person?

    Thank you.
    Erik from Holland

  2. Hi,

    I’m working in a company which developes backpacks, in several areas(alpine, trolley, day packs,…) .
    Now I was on a Fare east Trip and have seen they test the Fabrics (for example, a nylon 420 HD Oxford) with kind of a Sandpaper. I did/do more or less all the Tests with the woolen Fabric (DIN EN ISO 12-947).
    I could not really find out kind of a “Norm” of this Sandpaper, and what the best would be to test these kind of really durable Fabrics. Of cours it need to be the Martindale Test (becaus we are a Switzerland Company) and the Wyzenbeek Test Methodes are not that well known here!

    Has someon of you an idea how the Test Standards should look like on a durable Fabric, and have you got some ideas how?

    It would be great to get some helpful answers
    cheers gabi

  3. […] Crushed Velvet – something a bit different from one of our new 2010 Velvets. One of the advantages of many velvets is their suitability for many uses including upholstery, panelling, cushions and curtains. Our new Crushed Velvet is no exception with a Martindale of over 40,000 for a 145cm wide fabric. (See also Martindale vs. Wyzenbeek for an explanation of the difference) […]

  4. Hello…is there a particular manufacturer of Wyzenbeek machines that is particularly good? What is approximate price of one? thanks for any info

    • Hi we sell fabrics and do not perform the tests. I would speak to one of the many testing companies. However I would say that as the machines must test fabrics to a legal standard THEN it follows that they themselves must all be regulated in their performance. So I would suspect that they all perform similarly and that price becomes a key issue unsurprisingly.

  5. Can i know 11,000 rubs in Martindale test is equivelant to how many rubs in Wyzenbeek?
    i’m talking about a hand woven 100% cotton fabric-
    would this fabric be suitable for public spaces?
    thanks

  6. Can I know how many Martindale rubs will be needed for a certain fabric to be suitable for outdoor canopy fabric (atleast a rough value)?

  7. pleas advise which composition will be more suitable for a sofa upholstery for a living room;
    51%cotton spun+49% polyster filament (30000 rubs),
    30%polyster and 70% cotton
    100 cotton

  8. Odd question this but can you get a sense of how scratch resistant a fabric is from a martindale test? I ask this because I have a dog with claws who really likes to ‘nest’ in the sofa, thus destroying most fabrics he comes into contact with.

  9. What kind of materials is the actual machine/tester made of? I mean the mechanism. Also, what kind of materials are also suitable to use as abradants?

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