The Science Behind Fabric Stiffness Testing

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As you’ve probably noticed, there is a recent trend towards lightweight systems for turnout gear. Along with that trend, many fabric suppliers are shifting their focus towards the stiffness, or conversely the flexibility, of their fabrics being offered as part of these new lightweight systems. Anyone can easily perceive if a fabric is extremely stiff or flexible. But there’s a long-standing scientific test method that is used to determine, objectively, even the smallest differences in fabric flexibility. This article will explain how labs are using that test method to assign a standard quantitative value for stiffness to the new fabrics coming onto the market.