Identifying Criteria The burning test is a somewhat subjective , but simple , test based on the knowledge of how particular fibers burn. In the burning test, the following characteristics are noted:
Do the fibers melt and/or burn?
Do the fibers shrink from the flame?
What type of odor do the fumes have?
What is the characteristic s of any smoke?
What does the residue of the burned fibers look like?
The burning test is normally made on a small sample of yarns which are twisted together. Since the yarns used in one direction of a fabric are not always comprised of the same fibers used in the other direction, warp and filling yarns should be burned separately.
Test Procedures Select a small sample of at least six to eight yarns about 4 inches long, and twist them together into about a 1/8 inch in diameter bundle. Hold one end of the bundle with tweezers or two coins. A sheet of aluminum foil about 10 to 12 inches square can be used as a protected working area. If the sample ignites it can be dropped on the foil without damage. Either a candle or match can be used to provide the flame.
Limitations The characteristics observed during the burning test can be affected by several things. If the fabric /yarn contains blends of fibers, identification of individual fibers can be difficult. Two or three different kinds of fibers burned together in one yarn may also be difficult to distinguish. Finishes used on the fabric can also change the observed characteristics.
Caution Some fibers are slow in igniting, but then burn quickly. Others can burn hot and produce a painful burn if caution is not maintained.. Care also must be exercised so that your hair is kept out of the flame.
Cotton: Burns, but does not melt. It has the odor of burning paper,
leaves, or wood. The residue is a fine, feathery, gray ash.
Hemp: Same as cotton
Linen: Same as cotton
Ramie : Same as cotton
Rayon : Same as cotton
Silk: Burns, but does not melt. It shrinks from the flame. It has the odor of charred meat. The residue is a black, hollow irregular bead that can be easily to a gritty black powder. It is self-extinguishing, i.e., it burns itself out.
Wool, and other Protein Fibers: Burns, but does not melt. It shrinks from the flame. It has a strong odor of burning hair. The residue is a black, hollow irregular bead that can be easily crushed into a gritty black powder. It is self-extinguishing, i.e., it burns itself out.
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