The ICI (International Textile Industry) box pilling test method, also known as the ICI pilling test or ICI box test, is a widely accepted method for evaluating the pilling resistance of textiles. Pilling refers to the formation of small, unwanted balls of fibers on the surface of fabrics, which can diminish their appearance and affect their performance.
The ICI box pilling test involves subjecting a fabric sample to controlled abrasion within a closed chamber. Here's an overview of the test procedure:
1. Sample Preparation: Cut out circular fabric specimens with a specified diameter (commonly 38 mm) from the test sample. The number of samples may vary depending on the testing requirements.
2. Mounting the Samples: Fix each fabric specimen onto individual cork plates using an adhesive. The adhesive should only be applied to areas outside the test area to ensure that the abrasive action occurs only on the designated region.
3. Loading the Specimens: Place the cork plates with the fabric samples into the ICI box pilling tester. It typically consists of two boxes - one stationary and the other oscillating vertically.
4. Conditioning: Prior to the test, condition the fabric samples and the testing environment according to specific test standards or protocols, typically involving temperature and humidity control.
5. Test Procedure: Close the ICI pilling test box and start the oscillation mechanism. The vertical movements cause the fabric specimens to rub against adjacent specimens and against the abrasive elements present in the box. This simulates the frictional forces fabrics encounter during normal wear.
6. Duration of Testing: Run the test for a predetermined number of cycles, usually defined by the test standard or desired testing protocol. Each cycle consists of forward and backward strokes within the box.
7. Evaluation: After the test is complete, carefully remove the fabric specimens from the cork plates. Inspect them visually or using magnification, and rate the pilling resistance according to established grading scales or standards. Pilling is evaluated based on criteria such as the number, size, and appearance of pills.
The ICI box pilling test provides a standardized and repeatable method for assessing a textile material's resistance to pilling. The test results help manufacturers, retailers, and consumers make informed decisions about fabric suitability and quality.