Colorfastness is exactly what it sounds like upon hearing the term: How “fast” can fabric or other materials hold onto its original color upon the application of outside stress? Mary Marlowe Leverette explains in her 2019 article on The Spruce (website) that this indeed has an effect on everyday life–especially in laundry and knowing how well clothes will hold onto their color upon going into the wash. She breaks down all the different variables, including what material fabric is and what is being used to clean it: All of these factors and more affect colorfastness.
Another way to test color fastness in material or fabric is by using a device called a rub testing machine in a process called rub testing.
What Is Rub Testing
The Darlings of Chelsea explain on their website in an article published 2016 that rub testing is when a machine is used (which will be explained shortly) and rubs two materials together to test the strength and integrity of said material or even writing. The material that this particular article speaks of is the fabric used for upholstery which certainly fits the bill for one of the appropriate uses of this test and subsequently used equipment. Can ink or dye withstand the elements or friction if applied? Will wear and tear easily put an end to a nice-looking couch or chair or shirt? When do outside forces begin to affect the quality and condition of a material or the legibility of ink? This is what rub testing checks. Another name for this test, according to the aforementioned site is the “Martindale” test.
Rub Testing Machine
According to Danilee Co. LLC’s website, a rub tester machine uses two pieces of material and rubs them together at varying speeds. With many of these new machines, the speed can be changed to test. This process is greatly enhanced by a mechanism instead of having a person test to see how strong and durable material is. Increased frequency and power show how a particular object/material can withstand either increase in abrasive forces or the increase of the time variable. This machine can be used with what’s called a “dry rub” where there is no water applied to the experiment; meanwhile, there is another method of testing material, ink, or fabric that utilizes water as one of the elements. One of these advanced machines can cost upward of $4,000-$5,000 according to the Gardco website and its pricing on a rub testing machine.
Why Is Rub Testing Important?
Decisions about packaging or what a product should be made can be determined more accurately if there are ways to test strength and integrity through a simulation of what the product might endure. Using a rub testing machine will save a company time and energy to simulate a product’s life-span and quality.
Meanwhile, before going to production and making a lot of less-than-quality products, the company can go back to the drawing board and find a material with better color fastness and durability before going to mass production.