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The light microscope has been used in the scientific investigation of textile materials for nearly a century. During that time its importance as a tool in such studies has continually increased. Today many organizations in the textile manufacturing field maintain a microscopical laboratory as an integral part of their production, control, and research activities. In the current ASTM Standards on Textile Materials, the microscope is included as a necessary piece of equipment in at least eight methods of test. From the widespread appreciation of textile microscopy, it is apparent that the microscope has proven to be an effective aid in understanding textile behavior and has made significant contributions toward the development and production of satisfactory textile products. The examination of fibers, the basic units of textiles, has been and remains the largest part of the work of the textile microscopist. The extension of the ideas and techniques developed for fiber examination to yarns and fabrics has broadened considerably the scope of textile microscopy. Microscopical studies on the effects of chemical modification and mechanical processing on fiber characteristics likewise are effective means of approach to a more complete knowledge of these processes and to the setting up of reliable standards of test in textile production and use. It is the purpose of this paper to set forth briefly some of the objectives of textile microscopy and to describe accepted methods of accomplishing them. Details of the routine and specialized equipment and techniques are available in several comprehensive texts (1, 2, 3) and in numerous articles and technical bulletins (4, 5).
Tripp, Verne W.
Chemist, Southern Regional Research Laboratory, New Orleans, La.