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TB 117-2013: The New Flammability Standard For Upholstered Furniture

Attending the CPSC’s Upholstered Furniture Fire Safety Technology Meeting on April 25th, 2013, where Californian flammability standard TB 117 was a major topic of discussion, provided Vartest with an opportunity to interact in person with stakeholders in the area of upholstered furniture safety, where an important new method, TB 117-2013, is about to come into effect. Video links to details of the meeting are below:

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Part 1
http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/Multimedia/?vid=64490

Part 2
http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/Multimedia/?vid=64506

Part 3
http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/Multimedia/?vid=64503

Part 4
http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/Multimedia/?vid=64502

This new standard will be effective on January 1, 2014 and will become mandatory on January 1, 2015. TB 117-2013 is published by the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation November 22, 2013.

Current strong interest in reducing levels of flame retardants used in home furnishings have resulted in the adoption of a new standard focusing on cigarette smoldering rather than open flame as the challenge. To pass the new test, both smolder-resistant cover fabrics and barrier fabrics placed under the upholstery fabric are commonly used technologies. This new test method, TB117-2013, is the first activity in this particular area of flammability testing in forty years. It is another example of a consensus-based furniture flammability test that helps keep consumers safe.

Vartest conducts a variety of flammability testing on fabrics, garments, furniture, rigid materials, and more. We anticipate serving the needs of our clients as consensus standard test methods and product performance specifications continue to evolve.

Vartest Reaccredited By A2LA

Vartest is proud to announce our reaccreditation under the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). This marks our laboratory’s eighth year of accreditation.

According to A2LA’s own documentation, “A2LA is the leading US laboratory accreditation body with almost 2,000 laboratories accredited in accordance with the international standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005, about 50% of the total number of 17025 accreditations granted by all other US laboratory accreditation bodies.” Organizations eligible for A2LA recognition (defined by A2LA as “CAB”s, or “Conformity Assessment Bodies”) must pass a thorough evaluation process to determine the quality of their equipment, staff, and performance.

By passing this evaluation, Vartest has demonstrated excellence in the following qualities as defined by A2LA:

• Capability
• Responsibility
• Scientific approach
• Objectivity
• Impartiality
• Measurement traceability
• Reproducibility
• Transparency

Additionally, Vartest’s scope for fabric and textile testing now includes the following test methods:

• ISO 811
• ISO 14184-1,2
• JIS L 1041

We at Vartest extend our sincere thanks to A2LA for their recognition, and will continue to serve our clients with our diverse and ever-growing range of test procedures.

Vartest Featured in AATCC Newsletter

Vartest Laboratories is honored to appear in the August 21 edition of the American Association of Textile Colorists and Chemists’ official newsletter. As their website states, the AATCC is “the world’s leading not-for-profit association serving textile professionals,” and “provides test method development, quality control materials, and professional networking for thousands of members in 60 countries throughout the world.”

The article discusses the qualities and standards associated with high-visibility garments; in it, Vartest outlines the necessary laboratory qualifications and material parameters needed to ensure that high-visibility materials meet official standards.

High-Conspicuity Garment In Daylight Conditions

 

High-Conspicuity Garment In Nighttime Conditions

 

Vartest supplies in-house, comprehensive, competitive testing of fluorescent background material, retroreflective tapes, and high-conspicuity garments, providing third-party certificates demonstrating compliance with ANSI ISEA 107/207, EN471, CSA Z96, and AS/NZS 1096.4 specifications.

Those who wish to subscribe to AATCC’s newsletter, or to other AATCC-sponsored publications on textile news and developments, may visit this link.

Vartest Attends 2012 Eurosatory Exhibition:

Vartest is proud to have attended the 11th Bi-Annual Eurosatory International Defense & Security trade exhibition from June 11 to June 15. As specialists in third-party accredited testing of military products, Vartest’s attendance provided additional input to keep us abreast of new technological and market developments in the worldwide defense industry.

 

Vartest Technical Director Adam R. Varley at Eurosatory

 

Held in the Paris-Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center in Paris, France since 2002, Eurosatory is considered “the world’s largest land warfare trade show”; this year’s conference, according to Eurosatory’s official website, boasted 1,433 exhibitions from 53 countries, 155 delegations, 684 journalists, and over 53,000 other visitors.

 

Military Uniform & Backpack Display

 

So named because it was originally held by the French Army Experimental Unit in the Satory Military Camp near Versailles, the exhibition steadily grew from its inception. In 1991, its organization was transferred to the newly-formed French Land Defense Manufacturer’s Association, or GICAT (Groupement des Industries Françaises de Defense Terrestre). The first formal Eurosatory exhibition was held the following year, in 1992.

 

Tactical vest display. Vartest tests similar materials for qualities such as coverage, durability, and thermal protective performance.

 

As defense budgets continue to shrink worldwide, it becomes ever more vital to ensure that current equipment is tested and functional. Vartest provides fabric and textile testing services for a wide variety of defense and security providers, using its ISO17025 quality system to provide trusted, independent third-party test reports which support bids, solicitations, and ongoing programs. Our presence at Eurosatory demonstrates that, regardless of economic climate, we will continue to offer prompt, accurate testing to ensure that all defense products meet or exceed standards of excellence.

Vartest Accredited to Test For Phthalates Under CPSIA:

Vartest has obtained A2LA accreditation to test for phthalates under the Consumer Product and Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). This test (designation CPSC-CH-C1001-09.3) provides an excellent complement to Vartest’s lead and heavy metal detection testing services, allowing our laboratory to ensure full safety compliance for a range of materials and products.

Three-dimensional model of a Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP, one of the most common phthalates in use.

 

Phthalates are compounds of phthalic acid widely used as plasticizers, chemical compounds which increase the strength and malleability of plastics. Found in or on the majority of plastic or polymeric products worldwide, including toys, textiles, garments, and upholstery, phthalates and plasticizers in general are produced and used by the millions of tons per annum. However, phthalates’ weak chemical bond to the plastics in which they are used (specifically, the lack of a covalent bond) allows them to be relatively easily released into the environment when the plastics age. This process has been associated with certain detrimental effects to the environment, resulting in phthalates’ regulation under CPSIA as of February 10, 2009.

Structural Diagram of DEHP Phthalate

 

Vartest tests for phthalates using the Standard Operating Procedure supplementary to CPSC-CH-1001-09.3, dissolving the sample in a solution of HPLC-grade tetrahydrofuran (THF), precipitating sample polymers with HPLC-grade hexanes, and filtering the solution through a .45μm polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) filter. The filtered solution is then subjected to gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GCMS) to isolate and identify the resultant phthalates. Samples are monitored using both full scan mode and selected ion monitoring (SIM), and our machinery runs a quality control sample each day. Products tested include fabric adhesives, coatings, print applications, children’s products, plastic components of various garments, and other end use items.

Vartest GCMS Equipment

 

Vartest provides testing for the following phthalates:

  • Di-n-butylphthalate(DnBP) (CAS No. 84-74-2)
  • Benzyl butyl phthalate(BBP) (CAS No. 85-68-7)
  • Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate(DEHP) (CAS No. 117-81-7)
  • Di-n-octyl phthalate (DnOP) (CAS No. 117-84-0)
  • Diisononyl phthalate (DINP) (CAS Nos. 28553-12-0, 68515-48-0)
  • Diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP) (CAS Nos. 26761-40-0, 68515-49-1)
  • Di-n-hexyl phthalate (DnHP) (CAS No. 84-75-3)

Vartest offers services under CPSIA testing standards for a diverse clientele, and will continue to expand its testing capabilities.

FAST TURN COLOR ANALYSIS TESTING OF FIBER, YARN, FABRIC, APPAREL AND OTHER END USE ITEMS:

Vartest offers fast turnaround time color analysis testing of fiber, yarn, fabric and end use items from its ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory located in Midtown Manhattan. Spectrophotometers available include Dual Beam Sphere for use in retailer color management programs, 45° Illumination and 0° Viewing for fluorescent samples and Dual Beam Sphere with Near Infra Red capability for military programs. All of them are interfaced with state of the art color management and communication software.

These instruments provide objective, quantitative visual color measurement and assessment as well as shade sorting, shade grouping and banding, tapering, lab dip approval as well as objective rating of colorfastness test results such as crocking, laundering, light, storage and perspiration.

Vartest’s color quality control capability provides an Accredited Third Party backup to retailer, manufacturer and importer color management systems. QTX files can be generated and emailed by Vartest containing digital color information on standards, lab dips, production samples and fabric rolls destined for the cutting table.

 

Color Measurement Proficiency Interlab Results Displayed Electronically

Color Measurement Proficiency Interlab Results Displayed Electronically

 

 

Instrumental color measurement systems are operated by experienced technologists with specialized training in color measurement. The visual acuity of operators is checked using the Farnsworth Munsell color vision test in conjunction with Vartest’s calibrated Macbeth light boxes which are used for visual assessments when needed.

Polyester Fiber And Triexta Fiber Generic Subclass Testing Capability Enhanced

Using a combination of analytical techniques as well as experience with weft knit, warp knit, woven and non woven textile structures, Vartest provides a unique capability for analyzing polyester fiber and the polymers which make them up including FTC designated polyester fiber subclasses and related fibers.

 

Micro FTIR Analysis Allows Molecular Structure Analysis Of Single Fibers And Filaments

Preparing Vartest's FTIR Microscope For Textile Fiber Work With Liquid Nitrogen

 

The Federal Trade Commission covers but is not limited to three related polyester polymers used to produce textile fibers: Polyethylene terephthalate (often abbreviated as PET and the polymer which makes up the world’s most commonly used textile fiber), polytrimethylene terephthalate (FTC generic sub class triexta and also commonly known as PTT and with the current IUPAC name poly(propyleneterephthalate) and polybutylene terephthalate (often abreviated as PBT). The structures of PET, PTT and PBT are shown in the following ball and stick models:
Polyester Polymer Chains Modeled With Chem Bio 3D Ultra

Three Repeat Unit Chains Of Polyethyleneterephthalate, Polytrimethyleneterephthalate and Polybutyleneterephthalate

 

Fibers made of PTT may be labelled “Triexta” however fibers composed of PBT do not have an FTC designated subclass and so can be labeled “Polyester” and be more fully characterized as PBT Polyester. Fibers made of PET are usually simply labeled as “Polyester”.
The chief difference in chemical structure between these three polymer groups is the addition of a single methyl group to the polymer repeat with each of PTT and PBT. PET has two methyl groups in the hydrocarbon chain connecting phthalate esters, PTT three and PBT four. The addition of methyl groups leads to significant changes in fiber performance in end use, making PTT for example, particularly suited to end uses such as carpeting. The addition of methyl groups to the hydrocarbon chain also leads to decreasing melt point as seen in the following differential scanning calorimetry curves:

 

PET, PTT and PBT compared

Differential Scanning Calorimetry Comparison Of PET, PTT and PBT

Micro Fourier transform infrared analysis helps to differentiate these polymer groups with clear separation of PBT, PTT and PET capable with even a single fiber and enabeling dissected filament yarns from a complicated structure such as a multi bar tricot warp knit to be positively identified both qualitatively and quantitatively as seen in the following light micrograph:
Triexta (PBT) and conventional textile polyester (PET) dissected from a two bar tricot warp knit fabric.
Once dissected micro FTIR spectra of the yarns above are obtained and run against a search library for identification. The image above shows the dissected PET top bar yarn of a 1-0/2-3 fully threaded tricot structure as well as the PBT 1-2/1-0 back bar. A micro Fourier transform infra red analysis of SmartStrand carpet fiber is shown below with a 95% Euclidean hit to a control sample of known triexta fiber:
Eulidean Library Search For Triexta

Micro Fourier Transform Infra Red Analysis Of SmartStrand Triexta Fiber

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) testing complements this work differentiating between PET, PTT and PBT as seen in the following Hydrogen-1 NMR and Carbon-13 NMR comparison done at 300 megahertz with deuterated trifluoroacetic acid as the solvent:
Comparison Of PET, PTT and PBT

300 Megahertz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectra

Polyester Comparison Via FTIR

300 Megahertz Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectra

Vartest provides in depth analysis of all characteristics of fiber make up, morphology and performance assisted by a proprietary search library of thousands of fibers from all markets and end uses.

 

 

ANTIBACTERIAL PROFICIENCY TRIAL RESULTS SUPPORT ISO/IEC 17025 CAPABILITY FOR AATCC 147 AND AATCC 100

Vartest has successfully completed participation in AATCC Proficiency Trials in support of ongoing ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation for AATCC Test Methods 147 and 100. Additionally elemental analysis via wet chemistry/spectroscopy and energy dispersive xray are available in order to measure the presence and establish the location of elements such as silver which are associated with a particular anti bacterial finish.

Both leaching and nonleaching finishes can be assessed.

Biosafety Level 2 Testing At Vartest

 

Antibacterial testing is often one component of a battery of tests that Vartest performs to fully characterize a textile product. Both leaching and non leaching finishes can be assessed and Vartest has full capability to analyse the substrate to which an antibacterial finish has been applied.

SERICIN AND FIBROIN SPECIFIC STAIN USED TO CHARACTERIZE SILK FILAMENTS

Filament silk or bombyx mori silk is extruded from two seperate glands in the region of the spinerette on the silkworm’s head as it spins its cocoon. These two filaments are composed of beta pleated sheets of fibroin protein which are joined together by a sericin outer sheath which is simultaneously extruded from two other glands in the region of the silkworm’s spinerette.

The sericin outer sheath and fibroin inner region can be seen in the following low and high magnification scanning electron micrographs:

 

Scanning Electron Micrograph Of Woven Silk Fabric

Scanning Electron Micrograph Of Woven Silk Fabric

 

Highn Magnification Image

Scanning Electron Micrograph of Sericin Coated Bave Containing Two Fibroin Brins

 

 

To further differentiate the sericin/fibroin interface Vartest has developed a stain which colors the sericin outer sheath purple and the fibroin filaments pink as seen in the following light micrograph:

 

Silk warp yarn dissected from woven fabric.

The sericin surrounding the bave has been stained purple, the two fibroin brins pink.

 

The two fibroin filaments in combination with the sericin outer sheath is known as a bave, while the individual fibroin filaments are known as brins.

Vartest combines multiple testing and analytical techniques to fully characterize fibers both as manufatured and in end use.

 

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS AND CONTROL CHARTING OF INSTRON 5569 TENSILE TESTING USING INTERACTIVE VIDEO CAPTURE TO DEVELOP GLOBAL QUALITY CONTROL PROGRAMS

Textile testing of cotton sheeting using the ASTM International D5034-09 Standard Test Method for Breaking Strength and Elongation (Grab Test) demonstrates the ability of the laboratory to characterize and provide corrective actions to manufacturers and importers based on the determination of assignable and common causes within the framework of a quality control program. Common causes of variation are those associated with everyday or typical on target mill performance. Assignable causes causes are those associated with a loss of control in the manufacturing process that can lead to production of products that fail important performance specifications.

The sample used comprised a plain weave square cotton sheeting whose structure is shown below using both reflected light and scanning electron microscopy:

 

Light Micrograph Of Plain Weave Textile Structure

Light Microscopy Micrograph Of Plain Weave Sheeting Fabric

 

 

Plain Weave Textile Structure Of Cotton Yarn

Scanning Electron Microscopy Of Plain Woven Structure

 

Testing was performed on Vartest’s Instron 5569 load frame running Bluehill 3 software with real time video capture as seen in the following image:

 

Video Capture Complements Graphical Force Elongation Curve And Tabular Analysis

Video Capture Provides The Ultimate In Specimen Performance Chracterization

 

A 100 specimen sample taken in the warp direction was tested on Vartest’s Instron 5569 Constant Rate of Extension Load Frame with interactive video capture as seen in following force elongation curves:

 

ASTM D5034 Specimens 1 through 25

Specimens 1 through 25

 

Specimens 26 through 50

Specimens 51 through 75

Specimens 76 through 100

 

Breaking force was exported and plotted as a control chart which revealed specimens 20 and 85 displaying variation attributable to assignable causes:

 

Control Chart For Breaking Force

 

Elongation at break was also exported and plotted as a control chart which revealed specimens 19, 20 and 85 displaying variation attributable to assignable causes.

 

Control Chart For Elongation At Break

 

Investigation of video capture files for these specimens revealed slippage at the jaw due to intentionally induced gradually decreasing low air pressure being introduced into the pneumatic clamps as the cause of excessive variation in specimens 20 and 21:

 

For comparison the break characteristics of Specimen 5 showing only common cause variation is shown in the following video:

 

 

Specimen 85 was revealed to be a filling direction specimen that had been intentionally introduced into the test specimen series. While the breaking force of the filling specimen was about 30% lower than the mean, the elongation at break was about 300% higher than the mean; predominantly due to the high level of filling yarn crimp possessed by the filling specimen as opposed to the relatively low amount of warp yarn crimp possessed by the warp specimens as seen in the following video:

Variation in textile quality can be quantified and managed readily with statistical tools used in conjunction with standard test methods and performance specifications.

Gaussian Sort Of Tested Specimens

 

Assignable causes of variation in textile and apparel quality such as uneven application of water resistant finishes, antibacterial finishes and seam slippage performance can all be analyzed and corrected with the aid of these techniques. Accredited quality assurance laboratories inform and control factory supply chains worldwide.

For more information click here for Instron’s Website.