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Double Rubs = Double Strength?

DO DOUBLE RUBS equal Double Strength? Not Exactly. As you work on fabric selection for your lounge seating, more times than not the word “double rubs” comes into play, but what exactly is a double rub?

The term double rubs refers to the Wyzenbeek Method of abrasion tolerance testing. A Wyzenbeek machine is used to test the warp and weft (see inset photo) of the fabric. An approved fabric, commonly known as a cotton duck is used in a back and forth motion until the two yarn breaks occur or there is noticeable wear to the fabric.

wyzenbeek_510pixThe number of times that the cotton duck is cycled is called the double rub.

According to the Association of Contract Textiles (ACT), it is strongly suggested that double rubs exceeding 100,000 are not meaningful in providing additional value in use. High abrasion resistance does not necessarily indicate a significant extension of the service life.

High traffic installations such as university housing and lounge areas, hospital waiting rooms and hospitality facilities need at least 30,000 double rubs in order to meet industry standards. It is very common for people who purchase upholstered goods to directly correlate the fabric’s durability to the number of double rubs. However, the actual performance is determined by many factors such as: fiber content, weaves, and finishes.

Synthetic fibers such as nylon or polyester will withstand higher abrasion levels than a cotton or wool blend. For example, Fabric A is 100% post consumer recycled polyester and Fabric B, a 53% cotton and 47% polyester blend are both classified as 50,000 double rubs. However, Fabric A will most likely have a longer life cycle due to its man-made fiber content.
Fabrics_iStock_280pxSince over half of Fabric B’s content is cotton, it will eventually mat and break down showing little life or spring-back.

Now that you’ve learned more than you probably want to know about Wyzenbeeks, cotton ducks and double rubs, how are you going to use this information?

A better understanding will help squash the “more double rubs equals more durability” misconception.To provide the best fabric solution, choose fabrics based on weave and material content rather than double rubs.

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