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Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment better known as PPE, is intended to offer protection against chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, and other hazards. There is currently an array of PPE but, no single piece can completely protect you. Therefore, it is important to use a combination of PPE and safety procedures to ensure your wellbeing. Personal Protective Equipment is separated into 4 categories, each offering a different level of protection. For a visual explanation of the classes of PPE click here.

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The Latest Varley Family Textile Technology Scholarship

The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) Foundation’s Varley Family Textile Technology Scholarship is a $7,500 scholarship that supports students pursuing a career or performing coursework in textile engineering, textile chemistry, textile science or a related discipline at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) or Cornell University College of Human Ecology. It is is in memory of Gerald M. Varley, who founded Varley Textile Associates and, in 1986, co-founded Vartest.

This year an award was given to Kushbu Jivan, a rising junior at the Fashion Institute of Technology majoring in Textile Development and Marketing with minors in Art History and Ethics & Sustainability. She is independently pursuing biochemistry to help aid in her research and development of sustainable bio-materials that can be commercially applied to apparel, home, and performance textiles. The AATCC Foundation Varley Family Scholarship will allow Kushbu to continue her education and her pursuit of bio-material development while allowing her to become more involved in the industry. She would like to thank all of her teachers for their support as well as the AATCC Foundation for giving her the opportunity to pursue her passion.

You can learn more about the award and apply in the future at the AATCC website.

Impact and Puncture Testing at Vartest

Impact and Puncture testing provides data on how well your product/material can withstand penetrative forces. Due to the vast variety of materials, properties and rate of energy delivered, there are multiple methods that fall under this category of testing. These tests are a necessity for industries including but not limited to auto, medical, and apparel. It is important to know the resistance of puncture of a product to determine if the specimen’s properties are suitable for the industry, it is in. For example, a backpack made of PVC should not be punctured by a sharpened pencil rustling around inside. If it is then the material is not strong enough for the planned end use. This is one of many problems that can be detected with Impact and Puncture Testing here at Vartest.

Vartest now has the following:

Which gives us a brand new instrument to run:

  • ASTM D2794 Standard Test Method for Resistance of Organic Coatings to the Effects of Rapid Deformation (Impact)

    This test method is used to rapidly deform via impact a coating film and its substrate and for evaluating the effect of such deformation. Due to low reproducibility all testing for this method should be conducted in one laboratory.
  • ASTM D4226 Standard Test Methods for Impact Resistance of Rigid Poly (Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) Building Products

    We use this test method to determine the amount of energy needed to crack or break PVC (poly vinyl chloride) sheeting, or moulded test samples. The machine releases a freefalling standard weight which strikes an impactor with the specimen. This test could be used for quality control in addition to product research, and development.

    There are two configurations for this method:
    • Option A: Is used to determine the minimum energy required to cause a failure. I.e., hole, crack, split, shatter, or tear.
    • Option B: Is used to determine the minimum energy required to cause a brittle failure.
  • ASTM D5420 Standard Test Method for Impact Resistance of Flat, Rigid Plastic Specimen by Means of a Striker Impacted by a Falling Weight (Gardner Impact)

    We use this test method to determine the respective ranking of materials based on the energy required to crack or break flat, stiff plastic specimen under numerous conditions of impact of a striker impacted by a falling weight.

Vartest also runs:

  • ASTM F2878 Standard Test Method For Protective Clothing Material Resistance To Hypodermic Needle Puncture.  Vartest runs all options: 28 Gauge Hypodermic Needle, 25 Gauge Hypodermic Needle, and 21 gauge hypodermic needle.

    This test method is used to determine the force required to cause a hypodermic needle to penetrate through protective clothing material. There are three-gauge options for this test: -21, 25-, 28- gauge needles. These are used to evaluate puncture resistance of protective clothing. This test method is not a representation of all conditions. Some conditions not covered are stiffness of backing materials, presence of lubricants, and tension on the specimen.
  • ASTM D4833-07 Standard Test Method for Index Puncture Resistance of Geomembranes and Related Products

    This test method is an index test for determining the puncture resistance of geomembranes and related products. The use of this test is to establish a basis for uniform reporting. This test method is adequate for acceptance testing of commercial shipments of geomembranes and related materials.
  • ASTM F1342 Perpendicular Puncture Resistance of Protective Clothing

    We use this test method to determine the puncture resistance of protective clothing material by measuring the force required to cause a pointed puncture probe to penetrate through the specimen. This test method obtains three protocols:
    • Method A:
      • (1) Elastomeric materials
      • (2) Textiles
      • (3) Coated materials
    • Method B:
      • (1) Textiles
      • (2) Coated materials
    • Method C:
      • Watch this video to get a better understanding on the fixture for this test.
  • ASTM D2582 Puncture Propagation Tear

    The puncture-propagation of tear test measures the resistance of a material to snagging or tear. This test method covers plastic film and thin sheeting that may encounter end-use snagging hazards.
  • ASTM D751 Resistance Of Coated Fabric to Puncture

    We use this test method to test coated fabrics and rubber products made from coated fabrics. These goods are an essential part of commerce and require adequate testing.

    To gain a better understanding of what this method entails, peek at a failed test here.
  • ASTM F1306 Slow Rate Penetration Resistance of Flexible Barrier Films and Laminates

    Here at Vartest, this test method is used to the slow rate penetration resistance to a driven probe. The test is performed at room temperature by applying stress at a single velocity until a tear happens. The force, energy, and probe penetration to failure are calculated.
  • ASTM D5171 Impact Resistance of Plastic Sew-Through Buttons

    This test method determines the resistance of a button breaking under impact. A scenario would be ironing your shirt, or placing it at the bottom of a suitcase while packing.

High-Visibility Safety Apparel standard has been improved for 2020

The American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel (ANSI/ISEA 107) has been updated for 2020.

Companies wishing to represent their products as compliant will be a need to certify and/or recertify background materials, reflective tape, and garments to the 2020 standard.

Vartest is a member of the High Visibility Products Group of the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), the organization that created this updated standard. We’re well-positioned to test and offer consultation on the new standard. Contact us for more information or to get started.

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Vartest has a FAQ on UVC/UVGI and Textiles

Vartest Is Performing Accelerated UVC Testing Of Contract Textiles

  • Anticipates years of healthcare end use exposure in weeks.
  • Permits ranking and product development of woven, knitted, nonwoven, and coated fabrics.
  • Multiple evaluation methods are available:
    • Visual assessment of shade change.
    • Spectrophotometric assessment of shade change.
    • Embrittlement
    • Topcoat degradation including changes in gloss and surface chemistry and physical structure.
    • Change in anti microbial activity.
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Vartest awarded prestigious investment grant for developing advanced technologies

NYC wants to help manufacturers developing, learn about, and adopt innovative advanced technologies. Vartest has won a 2019 Advanced Material Grant from the Cornell Center for Materials Research, Invest-NY, and Ops21 to develop methods to analyze wool and cashmere fibers — Vartest will use this grant to standardize methods to detect and report the make-up and quality of important industrial materials.

More information is available from Cornell and from Ops21


Vartest is equipped with state of the art fiber cross sectioning equipment not normally found in labs without significant seasoned experience in working with the fiber, yarn, fabric, apparel and allied trades.

Vartest Microtome

Vartest’s Sledge Microtome And Resin Embedded Sections

This system provides outstanding cross-sections as seen in the following slide show:

Vartest-Fiber-Cross Sections POWERPOINT


Both natural and synthetic fibers, yarns and fabrics can be sectioned with this system.  For further information contact either Esmeralda Castillo or Trevor Trapp.”

Announcing service expansions & equipment updates

Vartest Laboratories continues to expand services for flammability, textile insulation and vapor resistance to facilitate performance assessment of safety and protective products and garments.

Vartest Laboratories demonstrates excellence in services provided to high technology and compliance markets, while maintaining unsurpassed breadth of methods and capabilities to the textile, apparel, home textile, and industrial markets, and military sectors. We are continually improving our offerings through investment in the latest technology and ISO-17025 accredited operations.

Recent additions and updates to the laboratories included:

  • Installation of new instruments for Thermal and Radiant Protective Performance (TPP & RPP) to meet ISO, EN, NFPA, ANSI and military requirements.
  • Updating of basic instruments for ASTM 6413 and NFPA 701 flammability testing.
  • Isothermal Sweating Hot Plate instrumentation along with a broad scope environmental chamber and remote access technology.
  • Our GCMS section is also supported by high performance microwave digestion and rotary evaporation instruments.
  • Near Infra Red Spectrophotometry for measurement of spectral reflectance.
  • Updated hydrostatic penetration capability.
  • Running all methods all methods including ASTM D751.
  • IL options ISO 811, AATCC 127 and others up to 200,000 millimeters of water pressure.

With this expanded capability, Vartest provides highly specialized protective performance assessment of products and applications related to development and production of fabrications dedicated to military, active sportswear and other specialized markets, which require elevated performance in unique environments.

Vartest sets itself apart with in-house testing using a fully automated large scale goniometric range for evaluation of high visibility trims, including all treatments required by ANSI 107, 207, EN 471 and CSA 96 protocols. It is this dedication and continued investment that positions Vartest as the undisputed leader in color measurement and spectral data in .qtx format, high visibility assessment and third party certification and compliance verification of high visibility safety and protective products and garments.

We invite your enquires and look forward to meeting all of your company’s testing requirements and greatly appreciate the opportunity to do so.