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To ensure the high quality and value of cashmere, the fibres need to be measured in terms of scale density and thickness, pigmentation, diameter and other characteristics.

SGS has the experience and expertise to conduct the two commercially viable methods of measurement currently available: optical microscope and scanning electron microscope (SEM).

Cashmere identification with SEM

Using the SEM method allows our operatives to see, with high magnification, the surface of the fibre in detail. The high resolution (down to two nanometers) and large depth of field means that our experts can determine the surface characteristics more easily. It also allows them to measure topographical features such as scale height and density (the ratio of scale length to fibre diameter). While such measurements can be useful when objectively discriminating between fibres, it is worth noting that the SEM method does not reveal the fibre’s interior structure (or pigmentation).

We follow the relevant industry-standard methodology for measurement of composition by SEM, as set out by the International Wool and Textile Organisation (IWTO-58). This uses the scale height to differentiate between wool (defined as having a scale height greater than 0.55 microns) and speciality fibres – including cashmere, mohair, camel, llama and alpaca.

Consistent, accurate measurements

Our operatives then identify the speciality fibres from other topological properties, such as scale shape, density and regularity of the fibre diameter – a somewhat subjective process. To maintain consistency and accuracy, we use industry-accepted measurement methods and provide our operatives with standardised training based on our traceable animal fibres library.

We have centralised the operation of our speciality animal fibres testing services in the UK. Approved by the Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute (CCMI), this facility is constantly involved in the development of:

  • Standardised technical procedures
  • Traceable electronic and physical fibre samples
  • Computerised training for fibre identification
  • Processes for the continuous monitoring of operatives

Get in touch with SGS now to find out how our fibre testing services can help maintain the high quality and value of your fibre shipments.