Textile Glossary - M

MACE SNAG TEST: A test for evaluation of snagging performance. A fabric sample is mounted on a revolving drum in contact with a miniature mace that tracks randomly across the sample. The spikes of the mace effect the snagging. The test predicts results in actual wear.

MACHINE DIRECTION: The long direction within the place of the fabric, i.e., the direction in which the fabric is being produced by the machine.

MACHINE TWIST: A hard-twist sewing thread, usually of 3-ply construction spun with S twists and plied with Z twist, especially made for use in sewing machines.

MACROLATTICE: A repeating structure in very small microfibrils of alternating crystalline and amorphous regions. Yarn properties are thought to be governed by morphology at the macrolattice scale.

MADRAS: A lightweight, plain weave fabric with a striped, checked, or plaid pattern. True madras is “guaranteed to bleed.”

MALLORY FATIGUE TEST: A test to measure the endurance properties of tire cord.

MANDRELL: The core around which the impregnated filaments are placed to form a specified shape in composite manufacture.

MANILA: Fiber obtained from the leaf stalks of the abaca plant. It is generally used for cordage.

MANUFACTURED FIBER: A class name for various genera of fibers (including filaments) produced from fiber-forming substances which may be: (1) polymers synthesized from chemical compounds, e.g., acrylic, nylon, polyester, polyethylene, polyurethane, and polyvinyl fibers; (2) modified or transformed natural polymers, e.g., alginic and cellulose-based fibers such as acetates and rayons; and (3) minerals, e.g., glasses. The term manufactured usually refers to all chemically produced fibers to distinguish them from the truly natural fibers such as cotton, wool, silk, flax, etc.

MARKER: In the floor coverings industry, a distinctive threadline in the back of a carpet that enables the installer to assemble breadths of carpet so that the pile lays in one direction or so that patterns match.

MARL YARN: A yarn made from two rovings of contrasting colors drafted together, then spun. Provides a mottled effect.

MARQUISETTE: A lightweight, open-mesh fabric made of cotton, silk, or manufactured fibers in a leno, doup, or gauze weave. Marquisettes are used for curtains, dresses, mosquito nets, and similar end uses.

MARRIED FIBER CLUMP: A defect that occurs in converter top. It consists of a group of unopened, almost coterminous fibers with the crimp in register.

MATELASSÉ: A soft, double or compound fancy-woven fabric with a quilted appearance. Heavier types are used as draperies and upholsteries. Crepe matelassé is used for dresses, wraps, and other apparel. Matelassé is usually woven on a Jacquard loom.

MATERIAL BALANCE: A mathematical representation of material flow through a reaction system. The input material is accounted for throughout its various transformations.

  1. A manufactured fiber that is essentially a physical combination or mixture of two or more chemically distinct constituents or components combined at or prior to the time of extrusion (i.e., produced in fiber form), which components if separately extruded would each fall within different definitions of textile fiber. (FTC definition). Matrix fibril fibers have the fibril constituent randomly arranged across the cross section of the matrix. When the fibril component is in high concentration it may actually form a fibrillar network in the matrix.
  2. In aerospace textiles, a thermoplastic fiber used with reinforcing fiber to form a composite after consolidation with heat and pressure.
  3. In nonwovens manufacture, fibers that are blended with low-melt fibers to form a thermally bonded fabric.

MATTED STAPLE: Fiber in the bale that is compressed and entangled in a manner indicating that the fiber was either too wet at the baling operation or that excessive baling pressure was used.


MECHANICAL FINISHING: Changing the appearance or physical properties of a fabric by a mechanical process such as calendering, embossing, bulking, compacting, or creping.

MELDED FABRIC: A nonwoven fabric of a base fiber and a thermoplastic fiber. The web is hot-calendered or embossed at the softening point of the thermoplastic fiber to form the bond.

MELT: A material in the molten state.


MELT BLOWING: The formation of a nonwoven by extruding molten polymer through a die then attenuating and breaking the resulting filaments with hot, high-velocity air or steam. This results in short fiber lengths. The short fibers are then collected on a moving screen where they bond during cooling.

MELT-DYED: See DYEING, Mass-Colored.

MELT INDEX: The weight in grams of a thermoplastic material that can be forced through a standard orifice within a specified time.

MELTING POINT: The temperature at which the solid and liquid states of a substance are in equilibrium; generally, the temperature at which a substance changes from a solid to a liquid.

MELTON: A heavily fulled, hard, plain coating fabric that was originally all wool but is now also seen in wool blends.


MELT VISCOSITY: The resistance of molten polymer to shear deformation. It is primarily a factor of intrinsic viscosity and temperature. It is an apparent polymer viscosity measurement in that it is only true at a specific shear stress and shear rate combination.

MENDING: A process in woven fabric manufacture in which weaving imperfections, tears, broken yarns, and similar defects are repaired after weaving; especially on woolen and worsted fabrics to prepare them for dyeing, finishing, or other processing.

MERCERIZATION: A treatment of cotton yarn or fabric to increase its luster and affinity for dyes. The material is immersed under tension in a cold sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) solution in warp or skein form or in the piece, and is later neutralized in acid. The process causes a permanent swelling of the fiber and thus increases its luster.

MERGE: A group to which fiber production is assigned based on properties and dyeability. All fibers within a merge can be expected to behave uniformly, and for this reason, can be mixed or used interchangeably.

  1. Wool from purebred Merino sheep. Merino wool usually has a mean fiber diameter of 24 microns or less.
  2. A yarn of blended wool and cotton fibers.

MESH FABRICS: A broad term for fabric characterized by open spaces between the yarns. Mesh fabrics may be woven, knit, lace, net, crochet, etc.

META: A chemical prefix, usually abbreviated m, that denotes that two substituents on a benzene ring are separated by one carbon atom.

METALLIC FIBER: A manufactured fiber composed of metal, plastic-coated metal, metalcoated plastic, or a core completely covered by metal (FTC definition). They are available in “yarn” form as well as in staple form for spinning with other fibers. A core yarn with a metal surface is produced by twisting a strip of metal around yarn of natural or manufactured fibers. The most important characteristic of metallic fiber and the chief reason for its use in textiles is glitter. Metallic fibers are used as a decorative accent in fabrics for apparel, bedspreads, towels, draperies, and upholstery. A relatively new application for metallic fibers is in carpet pile, where they are being used in small percentages for control of static electricity.


METAMERIC COLOR MATCH: A color match between two materials in which the colors are identical under some lighting conditions but not under others. Metameric color matches are common when different pigments or dyestuffs are used to color the two materials.

METAP WEAVE-KNIT PROCESS: A technique combining weaving and knitting in one operation with two independent yarn systems wound on warp beams. In the fabrics produced, woven strips are linked together with wales of stitches. Generally, the fabrics have 75-85% woven and 25-15% knitted structure.

METERING PUMP: A positive displacement device that pumps a measured amount of polymer solution to the spinnerets.


METIER: A spinning machine for producing manufactured fibers. The bank of cells or compartments and associated equipment used in the dry spinning of fibers, such as cellulose acetate and cellulose triacetate.

METIER TWIST: The amount of twist present in yarn wound at the metier.

METRIC COUNT: The number of kilometers per kilogram of yarn.

MICRODENIER: Refers to fibers having less than 1 denier per filament or 0.1 tex per filament.

MICROENCAPSULATION: Enclosing materials in capsules of less than one micron to over 2000 microns in diameter. These can contain polymer additives that can then be released under certain conditions of use or processing.

MICRONAIRE METHOD: A means of measuring fiber fineness by determining the resistance of a sample to a flow of air forced through it.

MIGRATION: 1. Movement of dye from one area of dyed fabric to another. Includes movement of color from the dyed area to the undyed area of cloth. 2. Movement of fibers which go from the center to the outside surface of yarn and back again periodically.

MIL: A unit of length, 0.001 inch, commonly used for measuring the diameter of wires and textile monofilaments.


MILDEW: A whitish growth caused by spore-forming fungi that grow in a warm, moist, confined atmosphere. The formation of mildew may cause discoloration, tendering, or variation in dyeing properties in cellulosic fiber.

MILDEW RESISTANCE: The degree to which fabrics are unaffected by certain fungi that cause odor and discoloration.

MILL END: A remnant or short length of finished fabric.

  1. The process of treating fabric in a fulling mill, i.e., fulling.
  2. In silk manufacturing the twisting of the filaments into yarn.
  3. A grinding process, i.e., ball-milling of dyes and pigments.

MILL RUN: A yarn, fabric, or other textile product that has not been inspected or that does not come up to the standard quality.

MINERAL FIBERS: A generic term for all non-metallic, inorganic fibers, which may be natural, such as asbestos, or manufactured from such sources as rock, ore, alloys, slag, or glass.

MINIMUM CARE: A term describing home laundering methods. Minimum care fabrics, garments, and household textile articles can be washed satisfactorily by normal home laundering methods and can be used or worn after light ironing. Light ironing denotes ironing without starching or dampening and with a relatively small expenditure of physical effort.


MISPICK: A weaving defect in which a pick is improperly interlaced, resulting in a break in the weave pattern. Mispicks can result from starting the loom on the incorrect pick after a pick-out.


MISS-STITCH: A knitting construction formed when the needle holds the old loop and does not receive new yarn. It connects two loops of the same course that are not in adjacent wales. Also known as float-stitch.

MIXED END or FILLING: Warp or filling yarn differing from that normally used in the fabric, e.g., yarn with the incorrect twist or number of plies, yarn of the wrong color, or yarn from the wrong lot.

MOCK DYEING: A heat stabilization process for yarns. The yarns are wound onto packages and subjected to package dyeing conditions (water, pressure, temperature) but without dye an chemicals in the bath.

MOCK LENO: A combination of weaves having interlacings that tend to form the warp ends into groups (with empty spaces intervening) in the cloth, thereby giving an imitation of the open structure that is characteristic of leno fabrics. Mock leno fabrics are used for summer shirts, dresses, and other apparel, and as a shading medium in Jacquard designs.

MODACRYLIC FIBER: A manufactured fiber in which the fiberforming substance is any long chain synthetic polymer composed of less that 85% but at least 35% by weight of acrylonitrile units (FTC definition). Both wet and dry spinning are used.

CHARACTERISTICS: Although modacrylics are similar to acrylics in properties and application, certain important differences exist. Modacrylics have superior resistance to chemicals and combustion, but they are more heat sensitive (lower safe ironing temperature) and

END USES: The principal applications of modacrylic fibers are in pile fabrics, flame-retardant garments, draperies, and carpets.

MODULUS: The ratio of change in stress to change in strain following the removal of crimp from the material being tested; i.e., the ratio of the stress expressed in either force per unit linear density or force per unit area of the original specimen, and the strain expressed as either a fraction of the original length or percentage elongation. (Also see YOUNG’S MODULUS.)


MOIRÉ: A wavy or watered effect on a textile fabric, especially a corded fabric of silk, rayon, or one of the manufactured fibers. Moiré is produced by passing the fabric between engraved cylinders which press the design into the material, causing the crushed and uncrushed parts to reflect light differently.

MOISTURE-FREE WEIGHT: 1. The constant weight of a specimen obtained by drying at a temperature of 105°C in a current of desiccated air. 2. The weight of a dry substance calculated from an independent determination of moisture content (e.g., by distillation with an immiscible solvent or by titration with Fischer reagent).

MOISTURE PROPERTIES: All fibers when exposed to the atmosphere pick up some moisture; the quantity varies with the fiber type, temperature, and relative humidity. Measurements are generally made at standard conditions, which are fixed at 65% RH and 70°F. Moisture content of a fiber or yarn is usually expressed in terms of percentage regain after partial drying.

MOISTURE REGAIN: The percentage of moisture in a textile material brought into equilibrium with a standard atmosphere after partial drying, calculated as a percentage of the moisture-free weight. (Also see STANDARD MOISTURE REGAIN.)

MOLESKIN: A heavy sateen-weave fabric made with heavy, soft-spun filling yarns. The fabric is sheared and napped to produce a suede effect.

MONK’S CLOTH: A rough, substantial, rather bulky fabric made of very coarse yarn in a 4-and-4 or similar basket-weave construction.


MONOFILAMENT: Any single filament of a manufactured fiber, usually of a denier higher than 14. Instead of a group of filaments being extruded through a spinneret to form a yarn, monofilaments generally are spun individually. Monofilaments can be used for textiles such as hosiery or sewing thread or for nontextile uses such as bristles, papermaker’s felts, fishing lines, etc.

MONOMER: The simple, unpolymerized form of a compound from which a polymer can be made.

MORDANT: A chemical used in some textile fibers to provide affinity for dyes.

MORESQUE: A multicolored yarn formed by twisting or plying single strands of different colors.

MORPHOLOGY: The study of the fine structure of a fiber or other material.

MOTE: A small piece of seed or vegetable matter in cotton. Motes are removed by boiling the fiber or fabric in sodium hydroxide, then bleaching. When not removed, they can leave a dark spot in the fabric.

MUFF: A loose skein of textured yarn prepared for dyeing or bulking. In the bulking operation, the yarn contracts and the resulting skein resembles a muff.


MULE SPINNING FRAME: A spinning machine invented by Samuel Crompton in 1782 and termed “mule” because it was a combination of the machines invented by Arkwright and Hargreaves. It was once widely used for spinning wool and to a lesser extent for very fine counts of cotton yarn. Its action was intermittent and slower than that of the more current ring spinning frame. It drew out and twisted a length of yarn and then wound it in the form of a cop, or bobbin, then repeated the cycle. (Also see SPINNING FRAME.)

MULLEN BURSTING STRENGTH: An instrumental test method that measures the ability of a fabric to resist rupture by pressure exerted by an inflated diaphragm.

MULTIFILAMENT: A yarn consisting of many continuous filaments or strands, as opposed to monofilament which is one strand. Most textile filament yarns are multifilament.



MUSHROOM TEST: See FLAMMABILITY TESTS, Mushroom Apparel Flammability Test.

MUSLIN: A broad term describing a wide variety of plain-weave cotton or polyester/cotton fabrics ranging from lightweight sheers to heavier shirting and sheeting.

MUSSINESS: A fabric defect on the surface that is characterized by undesirable unevenness caused by many minor deformations. Mussiness is independent of the presence of soil.


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Dan said...

Madras is the old name for the city Chennai in India :D

SWOOP! said...

Was/is MATRIX FIBER used in the matrix?

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Melt got me craving a patty melt lol

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i actually try to use a couple of these words throughout my day

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Waiting for more!

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