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Basic Textile Terms
The ability of a textile or surface material to withstand abrasion and friction without color changes or changes to other physical properties.
Tests performed on textiles or surface materials. Designed to gauge resistance to abrasion, friction, scuffing and other forms of abuse. The Wyzenbeek is the most commonly used abrasion test.
The ability of a textile to absorb liquid. Measured both in terms of how much liquid can be absorbed and the rate at which absorption occurs.
Guidelines created for the textile industry by the Association for Contract Textiles. Covering abrasion, fire retardancy, color-fastness (to light and crocking) and physical properties.
The reverse side of a textile; not seen in regular use. The opposite of the front or face.
A material or coating used on the back of a textile to reduce fraying, slipping and raveling. Also helps the textile keep its shape.
A mix of different fiber types combined to create a yarn or fabric.
A mixed yarn created by plying a looped yarn and a straight yarn. Adds surface interest and texture to textiles.
A yarn manufacturing process in which short fibers are forced to lay parallel to each other. This forms a roving, which is spun into yarn.
Color properties are hue, value and saturation.
The colors or color combinations that are available for a surface material.
A woven textile with a pebbled or grained surface. No visible repeated pattern.
When abrasion causes color or dyes to transfer from one surface to another.
A color created to suit a customer's unique needs.
The direction a pattern piece is cut from a roll of fabric. Can be vertical or horizontal.
A textile woven on a dobby loom. This process creates a small-scale pattern.
Chemical enhancement of a fabric to improve its stain resistance, fire resistance, abrasion resistance or other properties.
The front or finished side of a fabric; the side designed to be seen.
A natural or manufactured material that is spun into yarn and then woven into a fabric.
The horizontal threads of a woven fabric.
An industry term used to describe processes like fulling, decating, pressing, calendering and other treatments that make a woven fabric ready for use.
The measure of a fabric's ability to resist ignition and burning.
The way a fabric feels to the touch and how it drapes.
The blending of colors or values in a fiber or yarn to create a mixed-color textile or surface material.
Refers to color types, such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue or violet.
Refers to a textile woven on a jacquard loom. Each thread can be manipulated independently on a jacquard loom; a vast array of weave patterns and designs is possible.
A color's ability to stay true and unfaded when exposed to light.
A larger textile sample, used to view pattern and color for specification.
A small amount of colored fiber added to yarn during carding. This creates a color or texture when the yarn is woven into a textile.
A non-exclusive collection. Produced and sold to many furniture manufacturers and textile distributors.
A group of colors created for a specific purpose.
A fabric that is ideally suited for furniture panels and tackboards. Also known as a vertical surface textile.
A design that is either woven into a textile or applied after weaving using dyes or printing.
The length and width of a single unit of a design that is repeated to create a pattern.
A single horizontal yarn (fill or weft) in a woven textile. The number of picks per inch indicates the density of a fabric's construction.
Color applied to fabric after weaving. Performed in lot amounts that vary depending on dye vat size.
When wear causes abraded fibers to roll up and form small balls on the surface of a textile.
A one up, one down warp and filling weave arrangement that creates a plain fabric. It is the simplest weave construction.
These products are developed and created exclusively for specific customers and can only be specified or purchased through those textile distributors and furniture manufacturers.
When a pattern is cut horizontally from the roll, leaving selvages at the top and bottom. The selvages represent the long rails of a train track and the width of the fabric represents the ties.
Wear that causes individual yarns in a knitted or woven textile to wear out, separate or pull away.
Fabrics in new colors based on current color directions. The content and pattern of the fabric remain unchanged from the original design.
Textiles and other materials that are ideally suited for seating purposes.
Finished edges on a roll of fabric that run the length of the fabric, preventing ravelling. The width of a fabric is measured selvage to selvage.
A portion of twisted yarn that is thickened. This effect can occur naturally (i.e. silk slubs) or it can be created deliberately for added texture. Slub yarns are used to create random surface interest in textiles.
The process of drawing and twisting loose fibers to create a yarn that can be woven into textiles.
When loose fibers are dyed before spinning. These are then used to create multicolored yarns and fabrics.
A textile or yarn's ability to withstand stress without breaking.
Natural and synthetic fibers or yarns that are spun or woven into cloth. Textiles can be woven or unwoven.
A woven textile with mixed colors and a textured surface created through novelty yarns.
A woven textile with a distinct diagonal pattern.
The ability of a finish or textile to resist fading.
The lightness or darkness of a color.
Textiles used on furniture panels, tackboards and other vertical product applications.
The vertical yarns of a woven fabric.
A textile that has predominantly vertical yarns (warp yarns) on its face.
Using a loom to create textiles. Fill (horizontal) threads run over and under warp (vertical) threads during the weaving process. Patterns are created using yarns in different sequences.
Textile weight is measured in ounces per linear yard. This helps to identify the density or thickness of a fabric's construction.
A yarn created by spinning fibers using the woolen system. Characterized by both softness and bulkiness.
A yarn created by spinning long fibers using the worsted system. Characterized by both smoothness and luster.
A test used primarily for seating fabrics that determines whether or not a textile meets or exceeds industry standards for abrasion resistance. The measurement is given in double rubs, which indicate how many abrasions can be applied to the textile before it shows obvious wear. The test can also be applied to vertical surface fabrics.
Fibers twisted into a single thread, which can then be woven into a textile.
The process of dyeing yarns before weaving, making it possible to create multicolored textiles.
Key Concepts Used by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry
The natural processes of ecosystems are a biological metabolism, making safe and healthy use of materials in cycles of abundance.
A biodegradable material posing no immediate or eventual hazard to living systems that can be used for human purposes and can safely return to the environment to feed environmental processes.
Cradle-to-Cradle Design is MBDC's design paradigm, based on principles and an understanding of the pursuit of value, as well as MBDC's processes for product and material research and development, and for educating and training. At a fundamental level, the new paradigm proposes that human design can learn from nature to be effective, safe, enriching, and delightful. Cradle-to-Cradle Design models human industry on nature's processes, in which materials are viewed as nutrients circulating in healthy, safe metabolisms. Industry must protect and enrich ecosystems—nature's biological metabolism—while also maintaining safe, productive technical metabolism for the high-quality use and circulation of mineral, synthetic, and other materials.
A scientifically based, peer-reviewed process used to assess and optimize materials used in products and production processes in order to maximize health, safety, effectiveness, and high quality reutilization over many product life cycles.
The incorporation of scientific and ecological knowledge into product and process design.
Designing a product to be dismantled for easier maintenance, repair, recovery, and reuse of components and materials.
The practice of recycling a material in such a way that much of its inherent value is lost (for example, recycling plastic into park benches).
MBDC's strategy for designing human industry that is safe, profitable, and regenerative, producing economic, ecological, and social value.
The strategy for "sustainability" of minimizing harm to natural systems by reducing the amount of waste and pollution human activities generate.
A product or process designed to embody the intelligence of natural systems (such as nutrient cycling, interdependence, abundance, diversity, solar power, regeneration).
A technique for assessing the potential environmental impacts of a product by examining all the material and energy inputs and outputs at each life cycle stage.
MBDC's service and design tool that evaluates a product's materials and processes so that redesign for sustainability can take place. During the process of redesign, the Index can be used to continuously track and monitor progress toward sustainability.
This emerging movement of production and commerce eliminates the concept of waste, uses energy from renewable sources, and celebrates cultural and biological diversity. The promise of the Next Industrial Revolution is a system of production that fulfills desires for economic and ecological abundance and social equity in both the short and long terms--becoming sustaining (not just sustainable) for all generations.
A product designed for safe and complete return to the environment, which becomes a nutrient for living systems. The product of consumption design strategy allows products to offer effectiveness without the liability of materials that must be recycled or "managed" after use.
A product that is used by the customer, formally or in effect, but owned by the manufacturer. The manufacturer maintains ownership of valuable material assets for continual reuse while the customer receives the service of the product without assuming its material liability. Products that can utilize valuable but potentially hazardous materials can be optimized as products of service.
Modeled on natural systems, the technical metabolism is MBDC's term for the processes of human industry that maintain and perpetually reuse valuable synthetic and mineral materials in closed loops.
A material that remains in a closed-loop system of manufacture, reuse, and recovery (the technical metabolism), maintaining its value through many product life cycles.
Materials to be eliminated from human use because they cannot be maintained safely in either biological or technical metabolisms.
A principle of natural systems and MBDC that eliminates the concept of waste. In this design strategy, all materials are viewed as continuously valuable, circulating in closed loops of production, use, and recycling.