Nondestructive quantitative evaluation of yarns and fabrics and determination of contact area of fabrics using the x-ray microcomputed tomography system for skin-textile friction analysis

January 09, 2021

Ruksana Baby (1), Kavita Mathur (1), Emiel DenHartog (1)
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 13, Issue 3, January 2021: 4652–4664. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.0c18300


textile characterization; contact area; friction; comfort; skin injury; X-ray microcomputed tomography (XRM-CT)


In different mechanical conditions, repetitive friction in combination with pressure, shear, temperature, and moisture leads to skin discomfort and imposes the risks of developing skin injuries such as blisters and pressure ulcers, frequently reported in athletes, military personnel, and in people with compromised skin conditions and/or immobility. Textiles next to skin govern the skin microclimate, have the potential to influence the mechanical contact with skin, and contribute to skin comfort and health. The adhesion–friction theory suggests that contact area is a critical factor to influence adhesion, and therefore, friction force. Friction being a surface phenomenon, most of the studies concentrated on the surface profile or topographic analysis of textiles. This study investigated both the surface profiles and the inner construction of the fabrics through X-ray microcomputed tomographic three-dimensional image analysis. A novel nondestructive method to evaluate yarn and fabric structural details quantitatively and calculate contact area (in fiber area %) experimentally has been reported in this paper. Plain and satin-woven fabrics with different thread densities and made from 100% cotton ring-spun yarns with two different linear densities (40 and 60 Ne) were investigated in this study. The measurements from the tomographic images (pixel size: 1.13 μm) and the fiber area % analysis were in good agreement to comprehend and compare the yarn and fabric properties reported. The fiber area % as reported in this paper can be used to evaluate the skin-textile interfaces and quantitatively determine the contact area under different physical, mechanical, and microclimatic conditions to understand the actual skin-textile interaction during any physical activity or sports. The proposed method can be helpful in engineering textiles to enhance skin comfort and prevent injuries, such as blisters and pressure ulcers, in diversified application areas, including but not limited to, sports and healthcare apparel, military apparel, and firefighter’s protective clothing. In addition, the images were capable of precisely evaluating yarn diameters, crimp %, and packing factor as well as fabric thickness, volumetric densities, and cover factors as compared with those obtained from theoretical evaluation and existing classical test methods. All these findings suggest that the proposed new method can reliably be used to quantify the yarn and fabric characteristics, compare their functionality, and understand the structural impacts in an objective and nondestructive way.

How Our Software Was Used

Dragonfly was used to compute the total fiber areas in each slice. To accomplish this, the YZ plane views were selected for slice analysis and “ROI areas” were computed. The ROI areas per slice indicated the total fiber areas for the respective slices. It was also used for 2D and 3D data analyzis and to measure Yarn diameter (μm), crimp-% and fabric thickness.

Author Affiliation

(1) Wilson College of Textiles, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27606, United States.