What is a Martindale Tester?


A Martindale Tester is a widely used instrument in the textile industry to evaluate the abrasion and pilling resistance of fabrics. It helps manufacturers ensure the durability and quality of their products, ultimately contributing to customer satisfaction and product longevity. This comprehensive guide will delve into the intricacies of the Martindale Tester, focusing on its functionality, applications, and significance in the textile industry. We will also discuss the core concepts of martindale abrasion and pilling to better understand the testing process.

Martindale Tester: An Overview

The Martindale Tester was first developed by J.G. Martindale in the mid-20th century and has since become an industry standard for assessing fabric durability. The tester essentially subjects the fabric sample to a controlled abrasion process using a specific abradant material under specific conditions. The resistance to abrasion and pilling is then evaluated by comparing the fabric’s appearance before and after the test.

Martindale Abrasion

Martindale abrasion refers to the process of subjecting a fabric sample to repeated rubbing or friction against a standardized abradant material to determine its resistance to wear. This is a crucial property for textiles, as it directly influences the product’s lifespan and performance in various end-use applications.

During the martindale abrasion test, fabric samples are mounted on the Martindale Tester and subjected to a circular rubbing motion against an abradant material, usually a standardized wool or worsted fabric. The test is conducted under constant pressure and continues until a predetermined endpoint is reached, such as a specific number of rubs or the appearance of a noticeable change in the fabric’s surface.


Pilling is another critical property that the Martindale Tester evaluates. It refers to the formation of small, tangled balls of fibers on the surface of fabrics due to friction and abrasion. Pilling is an undesirable phenomenon, as it can affect the fabric’s appearance and, consequently, the overall satisfaction of the end-users.

The Martindale Tester simulates pilling by rubbing the fabric sample against a standard abradant under controlled conditions. The degree of pilling is then assessed based on the number, size, and distribution of the pills formed on the fabric surface.

Key Components of a Martindale Tester

A Martindale Tester typically consists of the following key components:

  1. Test table: A flat, circular table where the fabric samples are mounted for testing.
  2. Abradant holder: A device that holds the abradant material in place, ensuring proper contact with the fabric sample during the test.
  3. Lissajous mechanism: A unique mechanical system that generates a circular rubbing motion on the fabric sample during the test, simulating the friction that fabrics experience in real-life applications.
  4. Pressure weights: Adjustable weights that apply constant pressure on the fabric sample during the test, ensuring consistent and accurate results.
  5. Sample holder: A device used to securely mount the fabric sample on the test table.
  6. Counter: A device that tracks the number of rubbing cycles completed during the test, helping determine the endpoint.

Applications of the Martindale Tester

The Martindale Tester is employed in various industries to evaluate the durability and performance of textiles. Some of the primary applications include:

  1. Quality control: Manufacturers use the Martindale Tester to ensure that their products meet industry standards and customer expectations. By assessing the fabric’s resistance to abrasion and pilling, they can maintain consistent quality across different batches of materials.
  2. Product development: The Martindale Tester can be used to evaluate and compare the durability and performance of various materials, aiding in the development of new products or improving existing ones.
  3. Regulatory compliance: Many industries have specific abrasion and pilling resistance requirements that must be met for safety, health, or performance reasons. The Martindale Tester enables manufacturers to ensure their materials comply with these regulations.
  1. End-use performance: In textiles, resistance to abrasion and pilling plays a significant role in determining the material’s lifespan, appearance, and overall performance. By testing for these properties, manufacturers can optimize their materials for specific end-use applications.
  2. Research and development: The Martindale Tester is a valuable tool for researchers and scientists working on new materials, coatings, or treatments that can improve the abrasion and pilling resistance of textiles.

How to Conduct a Martindale Test?

Here are the steps involved in conducting a Martindale abrasion and pilling test:

  1. Prepare the material samples: Cut the material to the required size and shape, ensuring that it is free from defects such as holes or tears that could affect the test results.
  2. Choose the appropriate test method: Select the test method that best suits your material and industry requirements. Some of the most common methods include the ASTM D4966, ISO 12947, and BS EN 13770 standards.
  3. Set up the testing equipment: Place the fabric sample on the Martindale Tester, ensuring that it is properly mounted and secured to prevent slippage during the test. Attach the abradant material to the abradant holder and place the appropriate pressure weights on top.
  4. Conduct the test: Initiate the rubbing motion on the Martindale Tester, allowing the test to run until the predetermined endpoint is reached. This can be a specific number of rubbing cycles or the appearance of a noticeable change in the fabric’s surface.
  5. Assess the results: Carefully examine the fabric sample for signs of wear, such as changes in color, surface appearance, or the formation of pills. Compare the results with industry standards, manufacturer specifications, or other relevant benchmarks to determine whether the material meets the desired abrasion and pilling resistance requirements.
  6. Record and analyze the data: Document the test results, including the number of rubbing cycles and any visual observations made during the assessment. Analyzing this data can help manufacturers identify areas for improvement in their materials or production processes.


The Martindale Tester is an indispensable tool for the textile industry, playing a vital role in assessing the durability and performance of various materials. By evaluating the resistance to martindale abrasion and pilling, manufacturers can ensure that their products meet industry standards, regulatory requirements, and customer expectations.

By understanding the functionality and applications of the Martindale Tester, as well as the core concepts of martindale abrasion and pilling, manufacturers can optimize their materials for specific end-use applications and contribute to the development of high-quality, high-performance textiles that meet the ever-evolving needs of consumers and industries worldwide.