The Bee Keeper Next Door

August 16, 2017
Week 1a

Week 1; photo Jonathan Long

Excerpts from a recent interview with Creative Consultant & Director of the Magazine @NutsandLemons; Michelle Niellose. I want to thank Michelle for the excellent provocation to provide some insights into “The Bee Keeper Next Door.”

 

How did I get started? I have always been intrigued with gardens and growing things since a little boy. Growing up in Oregon, a neighbor had a small farm including honey bees. I remember getting a mason jar filled with honey and comb and thinking that was the greatest thing in the world. Later on in school, one of my favorite characters from the JKK Tolkien book “The Hobbit” was a bee keeper named Beorn and I really

HidebrandtTolkineBeorn

image created by the Brothers Hildebrandt

thought he was a cool character because he was ferocious but at the same time mellow. As I gained additional experiences, I really like the idea of growing and producing some of my own food or at least understanding the process. While living in Germany I feel in love with the whole idea of developing a vineyard and the wine making process but the realities of military life were a barrier to really exploring that idea. Once I retired from active military service I decided I would make time to become a bee keeper – that I could do.

What should a person do if they want to become a “bee keeper?” The decision to start keeping honey bees should not be taken lightly because after all, these are living things. When you first start out you will be contacting a local bee keeping to purchase bees and  “hiving” a box of bees into a new hive (and you

Install 7

Package of Bees; photo Jonathan Long

really should have two hives for several good reasons). A three pound box of bees includes one queen and about 10,000 bees so you will be caring for about 20,000 bees initially. This number will grow at the height of summer to about 50,000 bees, so that’s a lot of buzzing going on. Most of the time, the majority of these inhabitants will be in the bee hive so you won’t really see that many at one time. The first thing to do is read a book or three on beginning bee keeping and look for a local bee keepers association to take a class.  That is your first step – its best to take a class over the winter because then you have time to order your bees, order and prepare your hive boxes (referred to as a “deep”) and pick out your location.

 

How does a person determine if becoming a “bee keeper” is right for them? One of the keep factors to consider first if you have the

Install 17

Initial Deep + Feeder; photo Jonathan Long

necessary room for a bee hive (the two can sit right next to each other without any problem). You don’t have to live in the country to keep bees as there is a whole sub-culture dedicated to roof top – city bee keeping – that’s not the issue. Other humans are the issue. In planning your location called the “bee yard’ you have to consider two things: (1) how close is the location to your and your neighbors outside living area?  If within 100 feet or less of where you or  neighbors occupy outside spaces, probably too close. Now this is not because the bee’s will seek you out (they won’t – they don’t care) but you could be in their flight path to where ever they go on a daily basis (water sources included). This is related to the next item (2).  Position the bee yard in relation to sunrise and the suns path of travel during the day.  The hive opening should face South East (SE) cardinal direction.  This is so the sun most quickly warms up the hives entrance and gets things going (any day with a temperature over 60 degrees F will enable a Queen to lay).  If structures or dense trees don’t allow a somewhat clear path to the SE then you have a challenge.

 

What are the general guidelines for the maintenance of hives and when to harvest? Lets back up a bit – before you can maintain a hive you have to decide on hive styles, source and purchase. Your local bee keepers association can help and there are several great companies such as Brushy Mountain or Pigeon Mountain that can provide you supplies.

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Centrifuge Extraction; Photo Jonathan Long

Once you decide what style of hive, you then need to treat and protect the wooden hive bodies with either stain or paint. I added a small Decoupage image, again from the Tolkien works (art by the Brothers Hildebrandt) to each box which helps the bee distinguish which hive is theirs.  However, this is not necessary and they will focus in on the wood grain or another feature or the Queens pheromone to figure out where to go. The you have to plan on when your boxed bees arrive and when to hive them which sets up your new bee hives with their occupants. So there is a lot to talk about here with feeding and caring for a new colony but what I like it’s really just once a week that a bee keeper needs to go into the hive to look around. If you start out with a super strong hive you may be able to harvest the first year but really the second year is more reasonable – and then it’s usually the first week in July to pull the honey supers off which is where the bees store that portion of their work that can be harvested without damaging the hive.

 

 

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Fresh Honey Comb; photo Jonathan Long

What can you create with “honey bee” products at home? Well obviously the first product is pure “organic” wild flower honey. Now a word about truth in labeling – unless you live in the middle of a wilderness without any other humans around for 50 miles your honey is not 100% organic because its likely there are some forms of federalization or husbands going on but our intent it’s pretty much organic because there is no chemical or heat treatment – it come from the hive and comb into the jar. Second – again unless your bees are in the middle of a fifty acres clover field or a 20 acre orange grove, your honey will have mixed pollen and nectar from lots of different plants. So in this case its most likely “wild flower” honey. In my case we have made shaving cream, soap, ice cream, whip cream, cocktails and liquors all with home grown honey.

 

Important “do’s and Don’ts.” (1) can’t be in a hurry – everything to do with keeping bees is slow and steady; (2) always use a natural fuel when creating smoke to calm the

smoker

Smoker; photo Jonathan Long

bees in the hive – you don’t want chemical gases from plastics to injury your occupants; (3) take time to hang out in the bee yard and just watch the bees come and go – you will be amazed at the little door step hive entrance dances that going on or mini battle between guard bees and infiltrators and even the cold hard reality or when members of the hive have completed their life span and are removed from the hive to tumble lifeless in from of the colony. Each hive is its own operating environment unto its self.  The colony somehow together makes all the decisions, not the Queen; from when to raise female workers to male drones to even when a new Queen should be raised.  Take time to watch and you will be amazed.

 

Are there certain flowers that can be grown in a “bee keepers” garden that are popular with bees? Anything that has heavy pollen like sun flowers, butterfly bush, or lots of sweet nectar like honey suckle or gardenias (all in my backyard). There are lots of reference guides to help an aspiring bee keeping plant attractive and beneficial plants around the yard.

Does the type of flower affect the honey and or wax? So short answer is yes as mentioned before with regard to Clover Honey, or Apple Blossom Honey or Orange Blossom Honey. These will all impart a different level of sweetness but that not the thing

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Italian Honey Bee; photo Jonathan Long

for me – I think its really the trees around your bee yard and the pollen that they produce that creates a bigger impact. It’s the pollen that helps develop resistance to allergies and I think it’s the pollen that imparts so much of the distinction and character to the honey. The honey’s color will be directly impacted by the tree pollen the bees eat (bees live on both pollen and honey – the honey comes from the nectar).  So honey from a heavy pine forest will be different than honey from oak, beech and ash. Honey from sourwood is defiantly prized for its distinct taste (therefore the expense).

 

Conclusion – keeping bees is just that, you don’t really raise bees – they raise themselves but they do better when a bee keeper looks after them.  In the end it’s a somewhat symbiotic relationship; we give them a safe a secure home and feed them when they

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Bee Yard; photo Jonathan Long

need it – they provide us with excess production of their honey.  The other cool thing about being a bee keeper is our actual contribution to the world. A lot of people talk about social issues or the environment but by keeping bees a person has a direct and first hand impact on making the world a better place. I have read that cross-pollination by bees helps at least 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of our wild plants to thrive. I believe pretty much that without the help of honey bees, many plant species —including food crops—would die off. I understand that about 50% of our oxygen comes from the ocean phytoplankton but the other 50% comes from photosynthesis on land (trees, shrubs, grasses, plants). So if blending environmental causes, helping make the world a better place, and enjoying the sweet output of honey bees is your thing, then bee keeping might be a great fit.

 

INVISTA CORDURA® Fabrics for Defense IDEX 2017

February 9, 2017

From Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India, INVISTA CORDURA® Fabric known as a leading fabric brand for militaries across the globe will show latest fabrics for military gear and apparel at IDEX 2017. IDEX is the international defense exhibition and conference for unmanned systems and technologies and takes place February 19 to 23, 2017, within the Abu Dhabi national exhibition center, in UAE.idex-2017

New hardwearing and versatile soldier systems fabric technologies will be displayed at the CORDURA® Fabric  booth in Hall 7, booth A02 and include:

  •  Fabrics featuring the new patent-pending CORDURA® Fabric qualifying INVISTA T420HT fiber
  • Solution Dyed Nylon (SDN) technologies with built-in NIR/SWIR reflectance capabilities
  • FR (flame retardant)-coated CORDURA® Fabric polyamides for protective vests
  • lightweight comfort CORDURA® Fabric Nyco Tactical uniform fabric

11-ocp-photo-courtesy-of-cordura-brand

First in a suite of many product improvements for 2017 and targeting next generation durable uniform fabrics, the new T420HT is a state-of-the-art, patent-pending high tenacity staple fibre. For the complete details please see http://www.technicaltextile.net/news/cordura-to-show-fabrics-for-defence-at-idex-2017-expo-204001.html

From the CORDURA® Fabric website at http://www.cordura.com the company for nearly 50 years, been driving military textile innovation with performance solutions featured in both fabrics and webbings used extensively in combat gear, such as CORDURA® Fabric SDN yarn technology. These solutions are suitable for use in load carriage equipment, boots, body armor covers, knee/elbow pads, and other similar tactical gear.  http://www.cordura.com/en/press-releases/news_cordura_announces_durable_fiber_breakthrough.html

US Defense Bill to Supports Made in USA

February 9, 2017

Fabric rolls IDEX.jpgFrom the National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO),which represents domestic textile manufacturers, the Senate’s 92-7 vote to pass Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) according to NCTO President & CEO Auggie Tantillo is “a good bill.”  Tantillo says of the bill “It supports American troops, strengthens our national security, and includes many provisions important to the US textile industry.”

The Department of Defense (DOD) sourced roughly $1.5 billion (USD) in textiles and clothing in 2016. Textiles fall under the buy-American procurement provision known as the Berry Amendment. The Berry Amendment (10 U.S.C. 2533a) requires the Department of Defense to buy textiles and clothing made with 100% United States content and labor.

berry-amendment-berry-compliant-bootsThe FY 2017 NDAA conference report reflects several other positive outcomes for the US based textiles industry. (1) no increase to the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT). Procurements in excess of the SAT require compliance with the Berry Amendment. The SAT level is $ 150,000. If the SAT threshold were increased, contracts might be awarded to international bidders and a lose for US industry. (2) the athletic footwear voucher program that has been in place for decades ended. Now the works begins to ensure all athletic footwear purchased by DoD is Berry-compliant. (3) DoD and the State Department procurement officials have been directed to provide key congressional defense and foreign relations committees updates on how each department is making efforts to ensure US manufacturers are aware of procurement opportunities relating equipping foreign security forces. Information source: http://www.ncto.org

For the complete details please visit http://www.innovationintextiles.com/industry-talk/new-us-defence-bill-to-support-made-in-usa-products/utm_content=47764882&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin#sthash.8yKW5WZO.dpuf

For Fifty Years

February 7, 2017

idex-navexAttending the IDEX 2017 UAE military trade show and conference?  If so please make time to visit us in Hall 7 and booth A02. Until then the latest press release is available at the IDEX website http://www.idexuae.ae/exhibitors/invista?azletter=I the highlighting INVISTA and the CORDURA® brand.

pack“For fifty years the CORDURA® brand has been innovating durable and reliable fabrics for military gear using nylon 6,6 fiber technologies. Technologically advanced and extremely durable, CORDURA® fabrics stand up to the rigorous physical demands of the military life as well as provide protection from the elements. CORDURA® fabrics cover nearly everything in a soldier’s arsenal where enhanced durability is required. The fabrics are designed to deliver tensile strength, tear strength and abrasion resistance in footwear, apparel and packs to maximize servicemen’s survivability, mobility, combat effectiveness and field quality of life.”

CORDURA Patch

Photo Credit by Jonathan Long

The CORDURA® brand portfolio features hardwearing and versatile fabric technologies designed to be the soldier’s first line of defense in ballistic vests, boots, parachute containers, recon packs, hydration systems, knee pads and more.

http://www.cordura.com

Address

INVISTA Textiles UK Ltd
Ermin Street
Gloucester
GL3 4HP
United Kingdom

Sprinkle some water on your CAB . . . maybe it will grow into a CIB!

February 2, 2017

So said my endearing Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) with a huge grin, uponcib my pinning on my Combat Action Badge (CAB) in 2005 after my first Iraq deployment. So why the humor (other than standard NCO busting out an officer)? The CAB is a relatively new award initiated in 2001 where the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) has a much older lineage back to 1943 when it was initially referred to as the Combat Assault Badge. The name was changed that year to the CIB and stars added to indicate award of the badge in separate wars.

Award of the CAB is not limited by branch or military occupational specialty like the CIB; however, to receive the CAB, a Soldier must not be assigned or attached to a unit that would qualify the Soldier for the CIB – meaning I think that a soldier should not have both a CIB and a CAB?  “September 18, 2001, is the effective date for the new award, when President Bush signed Senate Joint Resolution 23, authorizing the use of military force against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”

cab-miniThe CAB, whose design features both a bayonet and grenade, may be awarded to any Soldier performing assigned duties in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is authorized, who is personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement, according to the specific eligibility requirements.

The requirements are laid out in a Department of the Army letter published on June 3 which lays out the documentation required to receive the CAB badge. This includes eyewitness detailed description of the engagement, the enemy forces, and the nature and consequences of the engagement.  This same letter also discusses changes to the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Combat Medic Badge. HQDA Ltr 600-05-1 and (See AR 670-1). The CAB is categorized as a Group 1 badge.

The CIB has a bar which is blue (color associated with the Infantry branch). The musket is adapted from the Infantry insignia of branch and represents the first official U.S. rifle (well really a musket – the 1795 model Springfield Arsenal musket). It was adopted as the official Infantry branch insignia in 1924. The oak symbolizes steadfastness, strength and loyalty.

Military Actions covered by the CIB: World War II:   Dec 7, 1941 – Sept 3, 1945 Korean afghan-expWar:   Jun 27, 1950 – July 27, 1953 Laos:   April 19, 1961 – Oct 6, 1962 Vietnam:   March 1, 1961 – March 29, 1973 Dominican Republic:   April 28, 1965 – Sept 1, 1966 Korea DMZ:   Jan 4, 1969 – but before Mar 31, 1994 El Salvador:   Jan 1, 1981 – Feb 1, 1992 Grenada:   Oct 23, 1983 – Nov 21, 1983 Panama:   Dec 20, 1989 – Jan 31, 1990 Persian Gulf War:   Jan 17, 1991 – April 11, 1991 Somalia:   June 5, 1993 – March 31,1994 Kosvo: Afghanistan: Iraq: The complete criteria for each area and inclusive dates are listed in Army Regulation 600-8-22.

iraq-expSo there is a little well intentioned ribbing between the “little CAB” who would and the “mighty CIB” but at the end of the day, both represent that the individual wearing the badge answered the call to defend our country when needed and moved toward the sound of the guns in the most demanding circumstances.

(shown Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Executive Order13363 on November 29, 2004 and Iraq Campaign Medal created by Executive Order 13363 on 29 November 2004)

 

 

What . . . Army Staff Identification Badge ?

February 2, 2017

What exactly is that green looking badge worn by many working in the Pentagon? The badge is called Army Staff Identification Badge (ASIB) and awarded to those who are assigned to the Office of the Secretary of the Army and the Army Staff at Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA).headquarters_us_army_ssi

While technically neither an award nor a decoration, the badge is a distinguishing emblem of service (although each person must prepare a recommendation for award of the badge and it is reflected in one’s official file).

Each staff member is issued the ASIB temporarily, once a member has demonstrated outstanding performance of duty and meeting all eligibility requirements the badge can be awarded permanent after one complete year (365 days cumulative) and receive a certificate authorizing permanent wear of the badge.

As background, General Douglas MacArthur proposed an Army General Staff Badge in 1931, but it was not until 1933 that the United States War Department authorized it. The badge has remained unchanged in appearance since it was first created, however, the name was changed in 1982 from the Army General Staff Identification Badge to the Army Staff Identification Badge..

cstc-afghanistan-patchOn the United States Army uniform, the Army Staff Identification Badge is worn centered on the right breast pocket. However, since the uniform regulations have changed to allow the wear of a “combat patch” on the Class A uniform the ALARACT 203/2010 wear guidance also says the ASIB is worn on the left breast pocket when worn in conjunction with a CSIB (Combat Service Identification Badge) more commonly known as a combat patch.

For example, one of my personal patches from 2008 and 2009 is the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) is shown. CSTC-A located in Kabul Afghanistan was formed out of the Office of Security Cooperation-Afghanistan and is in partnership with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Future Soldier Technology Conference

January 22, 2017
cotton-polymer-yarn-detail-v2

From polymer to finished product

repost from SMi announcing that BlackBox Biometrics, Invista textiles (Cordura brand fabrics), Revision Military, Marom-Dolphin, Sea Systems Engineering, Ultra Electronics and Harris Corporation are key soonsors.

March attendees can expect and interactive format where “No Attendees only participants”. Unlike other events, Future Soldier Technology is marketed around a combination of panel discussions and focused discussion groups, which are run by two chairmen – experts in soldier Technology.

As the only conference in Europe solely dedicated to enhancing soldier modernisation programmes this year, the conference will explore the greatest challenges and next generation solutions that are enabling infantry to conduct operations in today’s and tomorrow’s battlefields.

Key topics include: lightening the load and analysis of space for components, power and energy, body armour and night vision, communications and common integrated architecture.

Expert speakers for 2017 include senior representatives from: British Army, Infantry Trials and Development Unit, United States Marine Corps, US Army Northern Warfare Training Center, Canadian Forces, UK MoD, PEO Soldier, DSTL, United States Marine Corps, Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency, T N O Human Factors Research Institute, Thales, Rheinmetall Electronics and many more.

There will also be two post-conference workshops on: ‘How to Do Business with the British Army for Soldier Modernisation’ and ‘Black Swans and Soldier Programme Management: A Look inside the US Army Technology and Equipment Acquisitions from Capability Setting To Procurement’.

For those interested in attending Future Soldier Technology 2017, register online by 31st January to receive a £100 discount.

Future Soldier Technology 2017, 13th and 14th March 2017, London, United Kingdom

INVISTA CORDURA® Fabric Participates in Military Conferences 2017

January 9, 2017

idex-2017ABU DHABI — IDEX Conference 2017, part of the International Defense Exhibition & Conference (IDEX 2017) and Naval Defense Exhibition (NAVDEX 2017), draws participation of leading security and defense decision makers as well as military program managers from across the world.

Themed Disrupting Innovation in Defense and Security , the conference will be held ahead of IDEX and NAVDEX 2017 at the headquarters of the National Archives in Abu Dhabi on Feb. 18.  The http://saudigazette.com.sa/ reports that this conference will include three keynote sessions:

  1. Disruptive Emerging Technology and Innovation: A New Military Paradigm,
  2. The Next Big Leap in Cyber Defense,
  3. Defense and Security Control/Mitigate Multiple Disruptions.

Register ahead to participate in the conference sessions under the following link: https://secure10.eventadv.com/IDEX/registration/ConferenceReg.aspx?eventid=22fiber-to-yarn-to-fabric-and-product

Walking Meditation for the 21st Century

December 13, 2016

The labyrinth often based on a spiral is known to be a design feature likely 4,000 years old. This art form can be found in many cultures around the world such as India, France, Egypt, Scandinavia, Crete, Samaria, America, the British Isles, and Italy, and in all cases, they were built to share a common celtic-spiraltheme of pilgrimage and spiritual reward. Most are created as a spiral path leading to a central point and then back out again. For instance one of the oldest depictions of a Celtic Spiral that could have served as inspiration is found in a passage tomb Near Kells  Meath, Ireland.  Here we can see a series of three spirals.

Says Avia Venefica, “This is where labyrinths are often confused with mazes. Big difference.  Mazes are designed to challenge intellect and strategic skills.  Whereas the labyrinth is an exercise in soul development.”

wakehurst-labyrinthThe spiral, unlike that pesky maze, can be found in nature in a shell, a pine cone or even in the rose blossom are reflected in a labyrinth as a curving line around a central point. This might mean movement, growth, change or providing a continuously shifting perspective that can be inspiring and sometimes life renewing. (1)  Its a nice idea that walking a labyrinth is a metaphor for life -the path shifts in unexpected ways, sometimes away from your goal, but ultimately leading you to the center. Says a Labyrinth Facilitator; Chris Beam, “it is a powerful meditation tool, helping to quiet the mind and allowing time of reflection.”

maze

In contrast, passing through a maze – one in which the path divides repeatedly and there is a risk of becoming disoriented and lost – is a much more individual and potentially threatening exercise. It symbolizes the way in which the mind can easily become confused and sidetracked. In the maze, unlike the labyrinth, we are faced by many choices with outcomes that are uncertain (2).

So what path are we on in today’s world?  I would like to think we are on a pre-planned “labyrinth” path where even though twisting and turning directions seem confusing, there is some set celtic-spiral-ix-by-larkin-jean-van-horndestination or ending point in store.  However, I think more often that life in the over informed, technology imbued, speed of light 21st century is more like the maze mentioned earlier – our path constantly challenges us to evaluate progress and decide to turn left or right, back up or move ahead.

Maybe the group DEVO had it right and our philosophy should be to just to “Shape it up, Get straight, Go forward, Move ahead, Try to detect it, It’s not too late to whip it, Whip it good.”

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(1) http://www.ancient-wisdom.com/labyrinths.htm

(2) http://www.wolindia.com/2011/12/symbols-mazes-and-labyrinths.html

Mechanisms of Fabric Failure

December 5, 2016
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Photo Jonathan Long

Fabric fibers that wear out fast, make garments that fail faster.  Working within the Protective Products and Equipment (PPE) industry, we are inundated with data, test procedures (whether ISO or ASTM or AATCC), and if honest, scratch our heads to understand how data and test procedures can be used to predict future performance. To add complexity, in many cases the ISO and ATSM test methods do not directly correlate because the test apparatus are different.

 

We all know humans are good at measuring things and textile engineers are no exception and excel in this area! If we can develop a scientific test to measure how one type of fiber or fabric performs to another; we are happy. For instance, we are pretty good at measuring several independent elements of textile performance one being fiber tensile strength. We then can compare the results from one fiber to another and claim victorious insight. However in looking at staple fibers which are blended for better performance

nylon-staple-fiber

Photo Jonathan Long

like those found in military uniforms, there are a couple of things that impact strength. Once we compound fibers with other natural or synthetic fibers during the spinning process strength changes. One fiber’s performance shouldn’t be the final determination of how that yarn will perform or how that fabric once woven will perform. However, tensile strength is important (photo NYLON Fiber)

 

To measure tensile strength, common test methods used in the Technical Military Fabrics worlds you find are ASTM D5034-09(2013) Standard Test Method for Breaking Strength and Elongation of Textile Fabrics (Grab) or Test Method D3822 Standard Test Method for Tensile Properties of Single Textile Fibers. While these tests are great for comparing fibers and fabrics I am not sure they really tell the whole performance story. We rely on tests to predict which fabric will perform better in a military environment where fabric failure from rips and tears in high abrasion areas such as the knees, elbows, and seat are common. Tensile strength alone may not answer that question but is the most common place to start.

fiber-micronWhat we do know about tensile strength (or think w do) is that its related to “abrasion resistance” (stated as the number of cycles on a machine, using a technique to produce abrasion) and “durability” (here defined as the ability to withstand deterioration or wearing out a garment fabric in use which includes the effects of abrasion) (1). Higher tensile strength is often thought to indicate better abrasion and durability performance.

In addition to tensile strength we want to measure abrasion and there are three dominant tests.

  1. Martindale Abrasion (ASTM D4966) This test method covers the determination of the martindale-testing-credit-association-contract-textilesabrasion resistance of textile fabrics abraded against crossbred, worsted wool fabric. Fabric samples to be mounted flat and rubbed in an enlarging elliptical T shape using a piece of worsted wool cloth as the abrading material. The end is reached when two yarn breaks occur or when there is an appreciable change in shade or appearance.
  2. Tabor Abrasion (ASTM D4060) This test method covers the determination of the abrasion resistance of organic coatings to abrasion produced by the Tabor Abrader on coatings applied to a plane, rigid surface, such as a metal panel.
  3. Wyzenbeek (ASTM D4157) This test method covers the determination of the abrasion wyzenbeek-test-machine-credit-association-contract-textilesresistance of woven textile fabrics using oscillatory cylinder tester. The Wyzenbeek testing process requires samples of the test fabric to be pulled taut in a frame and held stationary. Individual test specimens cut from the warp and weft directions are then rubbed back and forth using an ACT approved #10 cotton duck fabric as the abradant. The end is reached when two yarn breaks occur or when appreciable wear is reached.

Note to product developers and evaluation teams – both test methods are limited to measuring flat abrasion resistance of a textile. Soldiers are fully three dimensional so these tests don’t consider edge abrasion or other types of surface wear that may occur in soldier uniform applications.

Fibers have different tensile strength but they also have different elongation characteristics. When considering fiber properties, fiber tenacity should not be viewed in isolation. Fiber elongation is at least as important –  why?  If a fiber cant stretch and recover somewhat, that fiber will break sooner than one that has elongation. Elongation is specified as a percentage of the starting length. The elastic elongation is important since textile products without elasticity would hardly be useable. They must be able to deform and return to shape (2).

fiber-elongation

Photo INTECH

My thoughts about selecting the optimal fabrics and fiber for military technical fabrics are that we should focus more on the mechanisms of failure. How does a fabric fail? I think we can rightly see that a fiber’s tensile strength is critical but so is a fabrics resistance to abrasion – maybe these two measurements can tell us which fabrics are likely to be the most “durable.”

How does failure actually happen? Its related to how a yarn and fabric’s structure is

fibre-rupture-abdullah-et-al-2006

Photo Abdullah 2006

modified in use. Lets face it – a fabric that is never used will last a long, long time so its something in use that wears a fabric out. In terms of wear mechanism in textiles, abrasion first modifies the fabric surface and then affects the internal structure of the fabric, damaging it (Manich et.al, 2001; Kaloğlu et al., 2003). Good abrasion resistance depends more on a high energy of rupture than on high tenacity at break. Abrasion is not influenced so much by the energy absorbed in the first deforming process (total energy of rupture), as by the activity absorbed during repeated deformation. This activity is manifested in the “elastic energy” or the “recoverable portion” of the total energy. Thus, to prevent abrasion damage, the material must be capable of absorbing energy and releasing that energy upon the removal of load (3).

The mechanical properties and dimensions of the fibers are important for abrasion. Fiber type, fiber fineness and fiber length are the main parameters that affect abrasion. Fibers with high elongation, elastic recovery and work of rupture have a good ability to withstand repeated distortion; so a good degree of abrasion resistance is achieved. Nylon is generally considered to have the best abrasion resistance, followed by polyester, polypropylene (Hu, 2008) (4).

cotton-polymer-yarn-detail-v2

Photo Jonathan Long

 

Something to think about is what is the optimal mix between fiber tensile strength and elongation and understanding how that mix performs during abrasion testing. If we find that higher tensile strength and greater elongation results in a more abrasion resistant fabric then we can add another test method to our toolbox to provide insight in failure prediction.  Fabrics with lower yarn tensile strength and lower fiber elongation should result in poorer abrasion testing and in turn wear out faster in wear and use. Lets test it and see!   (Photo natural cotton, key nylon intermediates, hexamethylene diamine (HMD) and adipic acid, Nylon Cotton Yarn and fabric)

 

(1) http://cdn.intechopen.com/pdfs/31704/ Abdullah et al., 006 Analysis_of_abrasion_characteristics_in_textiles.pdf

(2) http://www.definetextile.com/2013/04/fiber-elongation.html

(3) Analysis of Abrasion Characteristics in Textiles by Nilgün Özdil, Gonca Özçelik Kayseri2 and Gamze Süpüren Mengüç; Ege University, Textile Engineering Department, Izmir, Turkey

(4) Analysis of Abrasion Characteristics in Textiles by Nilgün Özdil, Gonca Özçelik Kayseri2 and Gamze Süpüren Mengüç; Ege University, Textile Engineering Department, Izmir, Turkey