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ACT is the acronym for Association for Contract Textiles, which is a not-for-profit trade organization made up primarily of the companies that supply textiles to the contract interior design industry.

The ACT Textile Performance Guidelines

In order to make textile specification easier, ACT member companies adopted a body of popular tests that measure important performance criteria for textiles in the contract interior textiles market. The results of these specific tests are represented by graphic symbols, which are used on ACT-member company textile sampling to indicate that a specific textile performs to contract standards for its recommended application.

The Guidelines are a selection of the numerous tests for textile performance that have been established (and are periodically reviewed) by standards organizations, such as ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials: http://www.astm.org) and AATCC (American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists: http://www.aatcc.org).

ACT has developed the following voluntary Performance Guidelines to make textile specification easier. The 5 symbols give architects, designers, and end-users a vast amount of performance information in a succinct visual way. Look for these symbols on INSTYLE CONTRACT TEXTILE sampling to assure that the textiles you specify perform to contract standards and pass all applicable testing.

These categories describe a textile’s performance features as measured by specified methods under standard laboratory conditions.’


Flammability

The measurement of a fabric’s performance when it is exposed to specific sources of ignition.
Note: ACT guidelines specify different flammability tests dictated by the intended end use for the fabric.

ACT Guidelines
Upholstery
California Technical Bulletin #117 Section E – Class 1 (Pass)

Direct Glue Wallcoverings
ASTM E 84-03 (Adhered Mounting Method) – Class A or Class 1

Wrapped Panels and Upholstered Walls
ASTM E 84-03 (Unadhered Mounting Method) – Class A or Class 1

Drapery
NFPA 701-89 (Small Scale)* – Pass* NFPA 701-99 Test #1 is being phased in at this time, but is not yet cited in all relevant codes. Therefore, the small-scale test remains the ACT standard until further notice.

TEST METHODS
California Technical Bulletin #117
Section E* – Class 1 (Pass)

The California TB #117 Section E is a test method of the California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation. It is a vertical flame test measuring the ease of ignition and the burning rate when a small open flame hits the surface of the test fabric for 1 second. A Class 1 (Pass) rating is assigned if:

1. A 5.0 inch section of the fabric is consumed in 3.5 or more seconds (less than 3.5 seconds is a failure). For raised surface fabric, the minimum burn time is increased to 4.0 seconds.

2. An average char length of less than 6.5 inches or an individual specimen over 7.5 inches.

* For complete technical details about California Bulletin #117 Section E:
http://www.bhfti.ca.gov/techbulletin/117.pdf

ASTM E 84-03* Tunnel Test
The ASTM E-84 test is a test method of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Commonly called the Tunnel Test, this test can be performed under two different methods adhered or non adhered where the only difference is in specimen preparation:

Adhered: The fabric is bonded to either a CA board substitute or gypsum board. This is the prescribed method for wall coverings whose actual use will be adhered .

Non adhered: If the fabric is a panel fabric or upholstered walls, it is tested in a frame without being bonded to any other material.

In each instance (adhered and non adhered), the fabric is placed in the ceiling of the test tunnel and subjected at one end to a high intensity flame which spreads over the first 4.5 feet of the 24 foot test specimen.

The distance of flame front progression and total burning time are used to calculate a flame spread index. Smoke monitors are used to calculate a smoke developed value. The flame spread index and smoke developed value are calculated from the results of the test fabric compared to the characteristics of cement board and red oak materials resulting in the indexes.

Typically, the code classes are as follows:
Class A: Flame Spread Index of 25 or less and Smoke Developed value of 450 or less
Class B: Flame Spread Index of 26 to 75 and Smoke Developed value of 450 or less
Class C: Flame Spread Index of 76 to 200 and Smoke Developed value of 450 or less

Caution: The ASTM E 84 test is only valid if the textile or vinyl wall covering is used in a sprinklered occupancy. If not, the Room Corner Test (NFPA 265 for textiles; and NFPA 286 for vinyl) is mandated in many jurisdictions.

* For complete technical details about ASTM E 84-03: http://www.astm.org

NFPA 701-89 (Small Scale)*
The NFPA 701-89 (Small Scale) is a test method of the National Fire Protection Agency. It measures the ignition resistance of a fabric after it is exposed to a flame for 12 seconds. The flame, char length and flaming residue are recorded. The fabric will pass the test if all samples meet the following criteria (if one sample fails the fabric fails):

1) an after flame of less then 2.0 seconds

2) a char length of less then 6.5

3) the specimen does not continue to flame after reaching the floor of the test chamber

Note: NFPA 701-99 Test #1 is being phased in at this time, but is not yet cited in all relevant codes. Therefore, the small-scale test remains the ACT standard until further notice.

* For complete technical details about NFPA 701: http://www.nfpa.org

Revised October 2003


Wet & Dry Crocking

Transfer of dye from the surface of a dyed or printed fabric onto another surface by rubbing.

ACT GUIDELINES
Upholstery

AATCC 8-2001
Dry Crocking, Grade 4 minimum.
Wet Crocking, Grade 3 minimum.

Direct Glue Wallcovering
AATCC 8-2001
Dry Crocking, Grade 3 minimum.
Wet Crocking, Grade 3 minimum.

Wrapped Panels & Upholstered Walls
AATCC 8-2001
Dry Crocking, Grade 3 minimum.
Wet Crocking, Grade 3 minimum.

Drapery
AATCC 8-2001 (Solids)
Dry Crocking, Grade 3 minimum.
Wet Crocking, Grade 3 minimum.

AATCC 16-2001 (Prints)
Dry Crocking, Grade 3 minimum.
Wet Crocking, Grade 3 minimum.

TEST METHODS
AATCC 8-2001*

The AATCC 8-2001 is a test method of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC). This method uses a standard white cotton fabric that is rubbed against the surface of the test fabric. To test for wet crocking the standard fabric is wet before rubbing against the test fabric. After rubbing under controlled pressure for a specific number of times the amount of color transferred to the white test squares is compared to an AATCC color chart and a rating is established.

Grade 5 = no color transfer
Grade 1 = high degree of color transfer

* For complete technical details about AATCC 8: http://www.aatcc.org

AATCC 116-2001*
The AATCC 116-2001 is a test method of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC). This test is specifically used for printed fabrics that do not lend themselves to the AATCC 8-2001 method. The test fabric is held at the base of a Rotary Vertical Crockmeter and rubbed with a standard cotton white fabric either dry or wet. After rubbing under controlled pressure for a specific number of times the amount of color transferred to the white test squares is compared to an AATCC color chart and a rating is established.

* For complete technical details about AATCC 116: http://www.aatcc.org

Revised October 2003


Colorfastness to Light

A material’s degree of resistance to the fading effect of light.

ACT GUIDELINES
Upholstery

AATCC 16 Option 1 or 3-2003 Grade 4 minimum at 40 hours

Direct Glue Wallcoverings
AATCC 16 Option 1 or 3-2003 Grade 4 minimum at 40 hours

Wrapped Panels and Upholstered Walls
AATCC 16 Option 1 or 3-2003 Grade 4 minimum at 40 hours

Drapery
AATCC 16 Option 1 or 3-2003 Grade 4 minimum at 60 hours

TEST METHOD
AATCC 16 Option 1 or 3 – 2003*

The AATCC 16 Option 1 and 3 are test methods of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC). ACT recognizes both methods where the only difference is the light source being used. In AATCC 16 Option 1 a Carbon-Arc lamp is used as the light source and in AATCC 16 Option 3 a Xenon-Arc lamp is used. Under both methods a strip of fabric (part of which is protected by a special paper card) is placed in a fadometer and exposed to 40 hours of accelerated fading units (AFU). After the exposure the difference in color between the exposed and protected parts of the fabric are compared to the AATCC gray scale and the degree of fading is rated.

Grade 5 = no fading
Grade 4 = slight fading
Grade 1 = high degree of fading

* For complete technical details about AATCC 16 Option 1 or 3 – 2003: http://www.aatcc.org

Revised October 2003


Physical Properties

Physical property tests include: Brush Pill, Breaking Strength and Seam Slippage. Pilling is the formation of fuzzy balls of fiber on the surface of a fabric that remain attached to the fabric. Breaking strength is the measurement of stress exerted to pull a fabric apart under tension. Seam Slippage is the movement of yarns in a fabric that occurs when it is pulled apart at a seam.

ACT GUIDELINES
Upholstery

Brush pill
ASTM D3511-02, Class 3 minimum

Breaking strength
ASTM D5034-95 (2001) (Grab Test)
50 lbs. minimum in warp and weft

Seam slippage
ASTM D3597-02-D434-95
25 lbs. minimum in warp and weft

Wrapped Panels and Upholstered Walls
Breaking strength
ASTM D5034-95 (2001) (Grab Test)
35 lbs. minimum in warp and weft

Seam slippage
ASTM D3597-02-D434-95
25 lbs. minimum in warp and weft

Drapery
Seam slippage
ASTM D3597-02-D434-95
for fabrics under 6 oz./sq. yard
15 lbs. minimum in warp and weft

Seam slippage
ASTM D3597-02-D434-95
for fabrics over 6 oz./sq. yard
25 lbs. minimum in warp and weft

TEST METHODS
ASTM D3511-02*

The ASTM D3511-02 is a test method of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). This test utilizes nylon bristles to rub the surface of the test fabric for a specific amount of time. The number of pill balls are counted and given a 1 – 5 rating.

Class 5 = no pilling
Class 1 = severe pilling

* For complete technical details about ASTM D3511: http://www.astm.org

ASTM D5034-95 (2001) (Grab Test)*
The ASTM D5034-95 (2001) (Grab Test) is a test method of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). To evaluate, the fabric being tested is put into a machine that grips the fabric with two clamps. One clamp is stationary and the other moves away applying tension until the fabric breaks or ruptures. This test is performed in both the warp and weft directions. The number of pounds required to cause a fabric to break or rupture determines the rating.

* For complete technical details about ASTM D5034-95 (2001) (Grab Test): http://www.astm.org

ASTM D3597-02-D434-95*
The ASTM D3597-02-D434 is a test method of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). To measure a fabric’s ability to resist seam slippage, a seam is sewn in the test fabric using a standard thread, specific seam allowance and specific number of stitches per inch. The sewn fabric is then clamped at opposing side of the seam. One clamp is moved away from the other applying tension at the sewn seam. This test is performed in both the warp and filling directions. The tension is increased until the seam separates to a specific distance. The number of pounds required to cause separation due to yarn slippage determines the rating.

* For complete technical details about ASTM D3597-02-D434-95: http://www.astm.org

Revised October 2003


Abrasion

The surface wear of a fabric caused by rubbing and contact with another fabric.

ACT GUIDELINES
General Contract Upholstery

ASTM D4157-02 (ACT approved #10 Cotton Duck)
15,000 double rubs Wyzenbeek method

ASTM D4966-98 (12 KPa pressure)
20,000 cycles Martindale method

Heavy Duty
ASTM D4157-02 (ACT approved #10 Cotton Duck)
30,000 double rubs Wyzenbeek method

ASTM D4966-98 (12 KPa pressure)
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.

ACT acknowledges that 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.

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, pilling, 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
ASTM D4157-02**

Oscillatory Cylinder (Wyzenbeek)
The ASTM D4157-02 is a test of the American Society of Testing and Materials. A Wyzenbeek machine is used for this test allowing samples 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 ACT approved #10 cotton duck 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.

** For complete technical details about ASTM D4157-02: http://www.astm.org

* The wire screen abradant is recommended by ACT for use with vinyl and polyurethane coated upholstery and may also be used for testing 100% olefin fabrics.

ASTM D4966-98* Martindale
The ASTM D4966-98 is a test method of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). 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, pilling, holes) is counted. Number of cycles determines abrasion rating.

Source: Association for Contract Textiles

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