A fibre can be defined as any substance which can be made into a yarn. These fibres’ strengths and weaknesses will be the deciding factor in how each fibre is used in the manufacturing process. Some of these will be used as backings while others will be used as face.
There are two basic types of Fibers
It is very important that the carpet cleaning personnel be able to identity the carpet fibre before any cleaning takes place. This will ensure that the proper cleaning solutions and procedures will be used for each fibre. Failing to do so can result in the deterioration of the fibre, colour bleeding, fibre texture change, cellulose browning and neutralization of acid dye blockers and flurochemicals.
The fibers used in manufacturing carpet or upholstery fall into two major categories: natural and synthetic. The natural fibers can be from animals–protein, or plant cellulose. The synthetic fibers are usually petroleum or cellulose based. If the type of fiber known you can avoid potential damage. The simplest method of identification is the burn test. This tip is so important that even the professional is so lazy to check. Dont ever forget especially if you’re unsure of the properties of the carpet.
When the Burn Test is performed there are 3 basic components that are observed.
- the flame
- the odour
- the ash
The Following is an equipment list needed for doing the a burn test
- Butane cigarette lighter set on a low flame
- Pair of tweezers or a large paper clip
- Pair of sharp scissors
Once the equipment has been assembled, cut a couple of fibres from an inconspicuous are and place them in the tweezers or paper clip. Hold the butane lighter about 1/2″ below the fibre, and ignite it (this should be done over a sink or ashtray). Pull the flame away and observe the flame, one the flame has gone out smell the odour and then once the fibre has cooled check the ash.
|Fiber||When in Flame||After Flame Removed||Odor||Ash|
|Nylon||burns slowly with melting||self extinguishing||celery||hard, tough, round, gray|
|Olefin||burns with melting||continues to burn and melt||ashpalt||hard, tough, tan|
|Polyester||sputters with melting||self extinguishing black sooty smoke||sweet plastic||hard, tough, round, black|
|Acrylic||burns quickly white orange||sputters black smoke||charred meat||irregular, hard can be crushed|
|Acetate||burns quickly with melting||continues to burn rapidly||hot vinegar||brittle,irregular, black|
|Rayon||burns quickly without melting||continues to burn||burning paper||almost none, light, fluffy|
|Wool||burns slowly and sputters||self extinguishing||burning hair||brittle, small, black, crumbles easily|
|Silk||burns slowly and sputters||self extinguishing||burning hair||bead-like, black, crushable|
|Cotton||burns quickly without melting||continues to burn||burning paper||light, feathery, gray to charcoal|
|Jute||burns quickly without melting||continues to burn||burning paper||light, feathery, gray to charcoal|
|Linen||burns quickly without melting||continues to burn||burning paper||light, feathery, gray to charcoal|