The effect of fiber type, yarn structure and fabric structure on the frictional characteristics of sock fabrics

Textile Research Journal2015 vol. 85 no. 2 115-127.

Rebecca R Van Amber1, Bronwyn J Lowe1, Brian E Niven1, Raechel M Laing1, Cheryl A Wilson1, Stewart Collie2

1.   University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

2.  AgResearch, Christchurch, New Zealand.



The objective of this study was to measure the combined effects of fiber type (fine wool, mid-micron wool, acrylic), yarn type (high twist, low twist, single) and fabric structure (single jersey, half-terry, terry) on friction between sock fabrics and a synthetic skin using the horizontal platform method. The effect of weight of a hypothetical wearer and moisture content of a sock fabric were also investigated. Differences among fabrics were analyzed using frictional force traces. Data compared included the static and dynamic friction and coefficients of friction, as well as three new descriptive parameters.

All variables investigated affected the frictional characteristics between a sock fabric and a synthetic skin. Single jersey fabrics had the lowest coefficient of static and dynamic friction. Friction between fabric and a synthetic skin was affected most by the applied weight, with the simulated adult weight resulting in a greater frictional force, and higher coefficients of static and dynamic friction. The most important effect of fiber was on the static frictional force and coefficient of static friction of damp fabrics, with fabrics composed of fine wool exhibiting lowest friction, and acrylic fabrics the highest.

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Significance Statement:

This paper sought to improve understanding of frictional forces between human skin and knitted textiles.  Experimental set-up was designed to simulate as closely as possible the interaction between human skin and textiles, using a simulated skin surface, as well as load and speed that are within human range.  Furthermore, fabrics were tested in both dry and damp conditions, to help elucidate the effect of moisture on friction between the skin and textiles.  Finally, the experimental design used sock fabrics (3 fibre types x 3 yarn types x 3 fabric structures) manufactured under carefully controlled conditions so only the factors of interest varied.  This paper is one part of three using these carefully controlled experimental fabrics which aim to improve understanding of sock fabric properties as measured in a laboratory.



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