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Processing, Dyeing & Finishing

Fatigue study on yarns: An overview

Engineering material and structure are usually subjected to varying stresses of small magnitude
during service. With repeated loading and unloading small stresses often cause stress
concentration and decreased resistance of a material. The capacity of the material to sustain
failure gradually diminishes as the number of stress cycles increases which is attributed to
cumulative damage. This phenomenon of decreased resistance of a material to cyclic stress is
called fatigue.

The sudden failure of a material by such a fatigue phenomenon

is undesirable in view of unavoidable costly repair and
downtime of the process. The fatigue failure is important for
many end-use applications such as apparel, furnishings,
automobile upholstery and industrial fabrics such as conveyor

The fatigue resistance of stable and multifilament yarn affects

processing performance for example, and the behavior sized
yarns during weaving or of multifilament yarns during
texturizing and twisting operation. The ultimate behaviour of
such stable and multifilament yarn relates to the fatigue behaviour of individual fibres and

Textile scientists all over the world are showing a lot of interest in investigating the fatigue
properties of fibres because a number of new types of fibres have been introduced which are
used not only for apparel but also industrial purpose.

For textile fibres, the situation is different because they do not have a real elastic region.
Attempts to investigate the fatigue properties have concentrated on determining changes at the
molecular level during cycling, interpreting results of fatigue tests via a statistical approach and
looking for effects directly linked with cyclic loading that leads to failure.

Anandjiwala et al (1993) say fatigue damage under cycling loading of tensile and bending forces
accompanied by abrasion may be assessed by using three criteria:

a) Failure
b) Loss in mechanical properties
c) Visual damage


In which the yarn is subjected to fatigue until it fails under cumulative damage results usually in terms of fatigue cycles, are
expressed as fatigue lifetimes (or) survival times.

Loss in mechanical properties:

Where the yarn is subjected to a known number of cycles prior to it is fatigue lifetime and results are expressed in terms of
loss mechanical properties, usually tensile strength.

Visual damage:

Which yields only qualitative information about the pattern and extent of fatigue damage inflicted on the fine structure of
the yarn fibre. Damage due to fatigue can help to explain the fatigue resistance of different kinds of fibres.

Some aspects of fatigue testing

Fibre failure can be measured by various methods. To classify them in a simple manner they can be divided into four

1. Cyclic tensile loading from zero to about half of the normal breaking load.
2. Flex fatigue by backward and forward oscillation over a pin causing breakdown of fibres.
3. Direct surface rubbing over a pin.
4. Biaxial rotation over a pin.

Cyclic tensile loading

Cyclic tensile loading technique for measuring fibre fatigue was first used by Booth and Hearle (1963). The specimen is held
between two clamps and one of them is subjected to a cycle of change of position. The disadvantage of this method is that
slack develops in the specimen due to imperfect recovery and the specimen ceases to be subjected to tension during a large
part of each cycle. Failure is observed only when the imposed extension is very large.

To overcome the above problem, several researchers have adopted techniques of cumulative extension cycling, which
removes the slack at the end of each cycle and imposes a fixed extension on the specimens during the next cycle. This
method enables it possible to cycle the fibre to failure. Nath (1971) and Hearle and Vaughn (1970) have followed this
principle in their apparatus.

Bunsell et al (1971) and Bunsell and Hearle (1974) have also used this method. The fibre is gripped between two sets of
jaws. One set is connected to vibrator capable of operating at frequencies between 0 and 10 kHz and having a movement of
3 mm at 50 kHz. The upper jaws are connected to a piezo electric transducer and a cantilever beam onto which is glued a
wheatstone bridge. In this way, electrical signals are obtained which are proportional to the cyclic and mean loads on the

Anandjiwala and Goswami (1993) have studied the fatigue behaviour of stable yarns (warp) under cyclic elongation
accompanied by abrasion action using a Sulzer-Ruti web tester on the basis of three criteria failure, damage rate and
visual appearance.

James lyons (1962), in his method, has fibre mounted by two taps -- upper and bottom. And the bottom tap was supported
in two arm. The lower arm was maintained in vertical oscillation through an adjustable scotch yoke. This cycle action on the
specimen should be one of constant displacement - amplitude

Torsional fatigue tests

Van der Vegt (1962) has used the Torsional fatigue method in which the fibre specimen is subjected to alternative positive
and negative torsional strains.

Geer (1969) subjected a fibre length of 10 cm to torsion under a constant tension to determine the fibre fracture.

Goswami and Duckett (1980) have used the torsional fatigue method in which the fibre specimen is subject to alternative
positive and negative torsional strains and here the fibre is not mounted between a movable and a fixed jaw.

Axial rotation
The fibre is subjected to a cyclic axial rotation with a variable torsional strain. The fibre is fatigued under a combination of
torsional and tensile mode.

Dunlop and Barker (1973) have described an apparatus designed for testing of fibre under compressive flexing. The mode of
action involves gripping the fibre fatigue at both ends, and causing it to buckle under a compressive axial load.

Flexural bending A number of research workers has employed the flexural bending technique for studying the fatigue
behaviour. Barella (1965) describes the Abrafil apparatus that works on this principle -- To widen the application of these
distribution to resistance, abrasion and fatigue by repeated extension of yarn and to fatigue by repeated bending of fabrics.

Miller et al (1983) have developed an apparatus that imposes an adjustable constant axial tensile load on filaments, yarn or
fabric stripes, during cyclic rubbing over pins in various configurations under controlled temperature and specific chemical
environments. The action is intended to simulate the combination of tensile, bending and abrasive stresses experienced by
fibrous material during processing and end-use.

Jariwala (1974) has used this technique wherein, one end of the specimen is fixed in a jaw mounted on the shaft of a
vibrator. The fibres are flexed with oscillation amplitude of approximately 2mm.

Biaxial rotation over a pin

Of all the fatigue tests, the most useful is a biaxial test, which has the effect of combining cyclic bending with twisting. This
method is currently preferred for observing the efficiency of textile yarns during processing, because it produces fibre failure
by multiple splitting, similar to the failure found in use. Biaxial rotation means axially rotating the fibre in a bent

Calil et al (1980) refer as three basic forms of apparatus have been used in this method.

In first method, for very coarse monofilament fibres can be bent freely and clamped so that both ends can be rotated
together. This method, which leads to the desired alteration of tension and compression, is not suitable for fine filaments
with diameters of the order of ten micrometer.

Free biaxial rotation

Desired alteration of tension and compression is not suitable for fine filaments with diameters of the order of ten micrometer

In the second method to overcome the problem, the authors adopted the method of forcing a small radius of curvature by
passing the fibre over a pin or wire under some tension; the fibre was rotated from one end and tensioned by a hanging
weight in this case

Rotation over pin, with a single drive

Calil and Hearle (1979) have further developed this technique. The salient feature of their method is that the ends of a fibre
specimen are clamped in two jaws directed at 90 to each other. The fibre is bent over a pin, and placed under constant
tension by allowing one of the jaw shafts to move in its axial direction under tension from a hanging weight. The jaws then
rotate in phase at the same speed and in direction so as to impart no net twist to the fibre. This results in the part of the
fibre in contact with the pin being alternatively compressed and stretched as it rotates. This fatiguing action eventually leads
to failure of the fibre.

Biaxial rotation over a pin

Hearle and Hasnain (1979) developed an improved apparatus in which the tension on the
fibre is controlled more conveniently by a pin that is onnected to a cantilever fitted with a
strain gauge.

Clark and Hearle (1979) have designed an apparatus which operates on a similar principal
but with the jaw shafts aligned parallel. An incidental effect of this method of tensioning is
that it allows the angle of warp, ?, of the fibre around the pin to be altered between
approximately 70 and 170 by varying the length of the fibre. In this system, the ends of
the fibre sample are attached to two jaw shafts. In additions, a new tensioning system has
been devised in which the pin is mounted on a light perspex beam that is free to move
vertically on bearings along stainless steel shafts and the tension may be increased by
simply adding weight to a beam. This involves the tension compression of fibres which are rotated whilst bent over a pins
resulting in damage to the fibre.

Fatigue parameters

Since there are different procedures for measuring fibre fatigue, it is only logical that this
property should be expressed in different ways. The most common parameter is the
number of cycles required to cause a rupture in the fibre.

Factors affecting the fatigue life


Lyons (1962) has found that fibres possessing a higher tenacity display a higher fatigue
life. Hearle and Wang (1977) have demonstrated that polypropylene fibres have an
exceptionally high resistance to fatigue compared to nylon, and polyester. Chauhan et al
(1980) have reported that the cell wall thickness of cotton fibres affect flexural fatigue significantly.

Effect of temperature

Hearle and wang (1977) have found that as the temperature increases, the fatigue life of nylon shows decline. Clark et al
(1980) have drawn a similar conclusion on the fatigue life of polyester and nylon monofilaments as the temperature

Effect of relative humidity

Hearle and Clark (1979) and Clark et al (1980) have demonstrated considerable differences in the fatigue life of polyester of
and nylon monofilaments when subjected to varying levels of relative humidity. Whereas the fatigue of polyester
monofilaments has remained constant at all level of humidity. Nylon filaments exhibit a reduction in the fatigue cycles as the
humidity increases from 50% to 100%, temperature at 0 to 20C.

Effect of pH

Hearle and Wang (1977) have performed on nylon 6.6 fibres at pH varying from 0 to 14,
and concluded that between 0 to 2 pH the fatigue life nylon shows a significant increase.
Lincoln (1952) after a study on carbonised 46s wool sample, has inferred that carbonized
fibres have less resistance to flexural fatigue than the treated ones

Effect of mercerization

Chauhan et al (1980) have demonstrated that the flexural fatigue life of the fibre increases
as a result of slack mercerization because of the improvement in the uniformity of the
fibre and removal of many weak places present in control fibres. Subramaniam et al (1990) has reported that slack
mercerization treatment improves the fatigue life of ring and rotor spun yarn.

Effect of resin
Hearle and Goksoy (1986) have concluded that resin treatment markedly reduces the fatigue life of cotton fibres.

Effect of water

Hearle and Wang (1977), Hearle and Hasnain (1979) and Clark et al (1980) have investigated the effect of water on the
fatigue of nylon 6.6 fibres, cotton fibres, and polyester and nylon monofilaments respectively.

Hearle and Hasnain (1979) have shown that untreated cotton fibres have significantly longer life in water than in air, and
that mercerized fibres have about twice fatigue life of untreated ones although mercerized fibres have same fatigue life in
both air and water.

Clark et al (1980) have found that for both polyester and nylon filaments, the fatigue life in sea water are slightly less than
in tap water. As far as cotton yarns are concerned, open end yarns have a longer life compared to ring spun yarns in air, but
in the wet condition they possess a shorter life [Subramaniam et al (1990)].

Selvakumar (1995) has reported the fatigue life of silk and treated silk yarn in water is lower than that in air.

Application of fatigue in textile

The popular laboratory method of examining this behaviour is periodic loading at some stress (or) strain level below in a
tensile test. This logical from of experimentation since many textile items are subjected to this type of loading history during
everyday use [eg, tire cords, S-belts and clothing].

Tensile fatigue is causing warp yarn failure during weaving.

The mechanical flexing appears to be an important factor in textile wear, the flex fatigue life of fibre has been related to
wear, and as in the case of carpet wear, it has been suggested that flexing may be the principal cause of fibre breakdown.

A tire in service must endure periodic and UN equal stresses, relaxation, and compression under varying conditions of
moisture and temperature. So for tire cord plays important part in the fatigue resistance of tire performance because tire
reinforcing elements carry the major share of structural load of the automobiles.

The fatigue failure to determine whether applied laundering and starching alter insulation and moisture vapour permeability
characteristic of clothing.

Fatigue in conveyor belts developed the stress and strain in cyclic belts strengthened by two layers of high modulus cords.
Fatigue failure is created in ship towing and single point oil tanker mooring. Fatigue failure also developed in the textile
structure consisting of twisted, interwoven, interloped or entangled fibres and local deformation will often be a combination
of tensile, bending, lateral compression and shearing and UN bending modes.

Fatigue failure behaviour of multifilament yarn during texturising and twisting operation: Fatigue behaviour of fabrics under
repeated stresses of varying intensities is important for many end use applications such as apparel, furnishing, automobile
upholstery, and industrial fabrics.

The tensile fatigue behaviour of stable yarn under the influence of cyclic elongation accompanied by abrasion can be
satisfactorily measured using different methods like as Sulzer-Ruti Webtester. The criteria used to measure the fatigue
resistance of the yarn are failure, damage rate, and visual appearance. The article laid bare factors affecting fatigue failure
of different yarns and filament such as cotton, polyester, and nylon. It also discussed major areas of fatigue failure affected
in production and end-use of textile material.


1. Anandjiwala R D and Bhuvenesh C Goswami: Tensile Fatigue Behaviour of Stable Yarn, Textile Res J, 63, 392-403 (1993).

2. Barella A (1965): The Application of the First and Third Asymptotic Distributions to Abrasion Fatigue and Repeated
extension of yarns and to Bending of Fabrics, J Textile Inst, Vol 36, pp T665 674.

3. Bunsell A R, Hearle J W S and Hunter R D (1971): An Apparatus for Fatigue Testing of Fibres, J Phys E Sci Instrum, Vol
4, pp 868 872.

4. Calil S F and Hearle J W S (1977): Fracture of Fibres by Biaxial Rotation over a Pin, Proc International Conference On
Fracture, Canada, pp 1267 1271.

5. Calil, S F, Goswami B C, and Hearle J W S (1980): The Development of Torque in Biaxial Rotation Fatigue Testing of
Fibres, J Phys D: Appl Phys, Vol 13, pp 752 32.

6. Chauhan R S, Shan N M and Dweltz N E (1980): The Flexural Bending Fatigue of Single Cotton Fibres, J Textile Inst, Vol
71, pp 18 29.

7. Clark I E, and Hearle J W S (1979): Development of the Biaxial Rotation Test for Fatiguing Fibres, J Phys E Sci Instrum.,
Vol 12, pp 1109 1112.

8. Clark I E, Hearle J W S and Taylor A R (1980) : A Multi-station Apparatus for Fatiguing Fibres in Various Environments, J
Phys E Sci Instrum, Vol 13, pp 516 519.

9. Dunlop J I and A Barker: Fatigue Testing of Fibre Under Compressive Flexing, Textile Res J 43, 739-382 (1973).

10. Goswami B C, K E Duckett and T L Vigo., Torsional Fatigue and the Initiation Mechanism of Pilling, Textile Res J 50,
481485 (1980).

11. Goswami B C and Hearle J W S (1976): A Comparative Study of Nylon Fibre Fracture, Textile Res J, Vol 46, pp 55 70.

12. Hearle J W S and Hasnain N (1979): Fatigue of Cotton Fibres and Yarns, Proc Annual Conference of the Textile Inst, New
Delhi, pp 163 165.

13. Hearle J W S and Wong B S (1977): A Comparative Study of the Fatigue Failure of Nylon 6.6, PET Polyester and
Polypropylene Fibres, J Textile Inst, Vol 68, pp 89 94.

14. Hearle J W S and Wons B S (1977a): Effect of Air, Water, Hydrochloric Acid and other Environments on the Fatigue of
Nylon 6.6 Fibres, J Textile Inst, Vol 68, pp 127 132.

15. Lin Coln B (1952): Flexural Fatigue and Visco-elastic Properties of Wool Fibres, J Textile Inst, Vol 43, pp T 158 172.

16. Lyons W J (1962): Fatigue in Textile Fibres, Part 3 Fatiguing by Biaxial Rotation, Textile Res J, Vol 32, pp 750 761.

17. Miller B, Friedman H L and Turner R (1983): Design and Rise of a Cyclic Abrader for Filaments and Yarns A study of
Polyester Filament Yarn, Textile Res J, Vol 53, pp 733 740.

18. Raghunathan K (1998): An Investigation on the Low Stress Mechanical Properties of Rotor Yarns and Ring Yarns, PhD
Thesis, Anna University.

19. Selvakumar N: A Study on the Effects the Chemical and Physical Treatments on the Properties of Silk Yarn, PhD Thesis,
Anna University.

20. Subramaniam V, Gopalakrishnan P, John Geraldm, Raghunathan K, PeerMohameed A and Natarajan K S (1990): Fatigue
of Cotton and Viscose Stable Yarns by Biaxial Rotation over a Pin, Textile Res J, Vol 60, pp 301 303.

Note: For detailed version of this article please refer the print version of The Indian Textile Journal June 2008

K Sivakumar
Department of Textile Technology,
Anna University,
Chennai 600 025.

V R Giri Dev
Department of Textile Technology,
Anna University,
Chennai 600 025.
Email: vrgiridev@yahoo.com.

published June , 2008

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