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A physical process whereby a liquid penetrates a fabric by passing through pores or holes in the fabric.




Describes the property of a fabric to not absorb a liquid.




Gutter Test

  • The protective fabric is placed in an inclined gutter (45°), which is lined with an absorptive material.
  • 10 ml of liquid is poured in 10 seconds onto the top of the test fabric.
  • Any liquid which penetrates the fabric within 1 minute is expressed as a % of the original quantity poured.( penetration)
  • Any liquid collected by the breaker after 1 minute is expressed as a % of the original quantity (repellency).
  • The European standard EN 6530 measures liquid penetration through a fabric and liquid repellency by a fabric.
  • The penetration index refers to the percentage of the original quantity which penetrates the fabric within 1 minute.
  • The repellency index refers to the amount of liquid collected after 1 minute (in a detector breaker) as a percentage of the original quantity.
  • Penetration results for each chemical are classified into 3 performance classes.
Performance Class Repellency Index Penetration Index
Unclassified < 80% > 10%
Class 1 > 80% < 10%
Class 2 > 90% < 5%
Class 3 > 95% < 1%
  • Absorption Index refers to the % of test liquid held in the test fabric, but has not penetrated through.



  • 30% Sulphuric Acid
  • 10% Sodium Hydroxide
  • Xylene
  • Butan-1-ol


Penetration index as per EN 6530 can only be used as an indication of instant penetration for small quantities of liquid chemicals. 

If the fabric is exposed to larger quantities for longer than 1 minute, considerable amounts may pass through.

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+44 (0)1482 644220
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