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Martindale test - everything you need to know about the durability of your chair's fabric

One of the important elements we should be guided by when buying an ergonomic, office or gaming chair is its durability and longevity. It is this aspect that defines the quality and reliability of our equipment. Therefore, when making a choice, it is extremely important to check what materials and components the piece is made of. One of the indicators of the quality of the materials from which a chair is made is the number of Martindale cycles. This is determined on the basis of a special test that verifies the quality of the fabric of our chosen piece. However, few people know how to read Martindale cycles and how important this is in terms of subsequent use. Therefore, in the following article we will explain what the Martindale test is, how a given number of cycles translates into longevity and which seats will provide long-lasting and reliable service.

What is the Martindale test?

Martindale cycles are determined by the Martindale test that is carried out. In practice, it involves placing a piece of fabric under test on the plate of a special machine. As the machine is switched on, discs covered with worsted wool or sandpaper are moved across the fabric. The pressure of the device on the fabric is constant, uniform and repetitive, following a special Lissajous trajectory that looks like a figure-of-eight movement, and the disc moves in this way about three times per minute. This movement is carried out until the first lesions appear on the surface of the fabric. When the first abrasion or damage to the fabric occurs, the device switches off and counts the number of cycles during which the fabric was intact. The higher the result comes out, the better the quality of the fabric being checked. The Martindale test can last for several hours or even days, depending on the type and nature of the fabric. The solution imitates sitting on a sofa, as testing individual fabrics in this way would require sitting on a sofa 10,000 - 20,000 times, which is logistically impossible. It is performed using a device equipped with a disc that is covered with worsted wool. In this way, a rubbing process is carried out during the test to imitate the user sitting down on the fabric The speed of the disc is 45 revolutions per minute. The fabric strength test is carried out in a room where the temperature is between 20 and 22 degrees Celsius. Interestingly, the fabric sample being tested is air-conditioned for three days beforehand. The final stage is to compare the tested piece of fabric with the original version. The Martindale test thus provides the most reliable and authoritative way of assessing the strength of the fabric and, consequently, its quality. The whole process is in accordance with ISO 12947-2:2000.

Martindale test machine

What are Martindale cycles?

The Martindale test results are given in cycles, and the more cycles there are, the more durable the material being tested. A given number of cycles is equivalent to the number of abrasions before the fabric is damaged or deteriorated. In practice, fabrics that have achieved more than 40,000 cycles on the Martindale scale are considered durable and hardwearing. They can be used for several years or more without fear of abrasion or damage to the fabric. On the other hand, furniture covered with a material that has achieved more than 100,000 cycles is extremely robust and almost indestructible, and can serve its users even for several decades from the day of purchase. What is more, a given number of cycles corresponds to the different categories to which fabrics are assigned. Category A are fabrics that have achieved less than 45,000 cycles in a Martindale test, category B corresponds to cycles between 25,000 and 40,000 units, while category C are fabrics that have achieved between 10,000 and 20,000 cycles after testing. So, if you want durable and reliable upholstery, it is worth opting for a fabric from category A or B. In Owell's online shop, you will find many chairs that meet the above requirements, so everyone can easily purchase the perfect piece of equipment for themselves. What's more, there is also another criterion for assessing the durability of individual fabrics, which was developed by the German Upholstery Institute. It has created a special ranking based on the number of Martindale cycles. According to it, soft foam that has reached 10,000 cycles and hard foam that has reached 15,000 units will perform well during private use. On the other hand, soft foam that has achieved 25,000 cycles and hard foam with a unit of 35,000 cycles will be perfect for office or commercial use. For public use, on the other hand, materials that have achieved 30,000 cycles in the Martindale test in the case of soft foam and 40,000 units in the context of hard foam are intended. In practice, materials that have more than 40 000 Martindale cycles are most often of high quality and characterised by high durability and resistance to abrasion. Interestingly, the seats available in Owell's online shop often have 140,000 cycles, and are therefore almost indestructible and reliable seats for several decades of use.

What does the Martindale test give?

The Martindale test allows you to determine the durability of a given fabric, as well as how long the fabric will remain intact. What is more, the cycles provided allow you to assess the use and purpose of the item - some will perform better in private use, while others will easily cope with commercial or public use. If you are looking for reliable, long-lasting furniture, it is advisable to opt for pieces with a high number of cycles or those that are rated A or B.

Martindale test and armchairs available in the Owell shop

A wide range of ergonomic, office or study armchairs is available in our online shop. Most of them are upholstered in materials that have been tested using the Martindale test, achieving a result of up to 140,000 cycles. Consequently, the armchairs available in the Owell shop are of the highest quality and provide reliable service for many years. Before purchasing the piece of your choice, it is worth checking the abrasion resistance of the material to ensure that the equipment will be durable and long-lasting. We invite you to browse our range, where you will find the highest quality office, study and ergonomic armchairs available on the market.


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