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Industry Terms and Definitions

Quickly learn more about industry and textile-related terms.

* Click on any letter below to skip to the beginning letter of the term you are looking for.


4-Bar This is the term commonly used to describe a stripe in awning fabric. This is the approximate number of colored 4-inch stripes across the width of a 31-inch fabric. The stripes are not exactly 4 inches, but more like 3.8 inches. Since many fabrics are wider than 31 inches today, this term is used to describe the width of the stripe. Also known as a classic stripe I.D.

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Abaca A form of banana plant grown mostly in the Philippines that provides fiber for manila rope.

Abrasion Resistance Capacity of material to withstand wear due to friction, rubbing, or scraping.

Acceleration Stress Additional stress placed on rope due to increasing the velocity of the load.

Acrilan Trademark owned by Monsanto Co. for acrylic staple and filament fabric composed of 85% or more acrylonitrile, a liquid derivative of natural gas and air.

Acrylic Generic term for manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is any long-chain synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of acrylonitrile units. Made in both filament and staple forms.

Agave A group of large cactus plants, the fiber of which is used to make sisal rope. Henequen is a fiber that comes from the Mexican plant Agave Fourcroydes.

Air-Inflated Structure A structure that uses air-pressurized membrane beams, arches or other elements to enclose space. Occupants of such a structure do not occupy the pressurized area used to support the structure.

Air-Supported Structure A building wherein the shape of the structure is attained by air pressure. Occupants of the structure are within the elevated pressure area.

Alloy A mixture of two or more metals or of metallic and nonmetallic elements usually fused together or dissolving into each other when molten.

Anodizing A process used to improve corrosion resistance of aluminum and its alloys. The material is cleaned, then immersed in a bath of acids. The metal is the positive pole, or anode, in the acid bath. A current is applied and oxidation occurs. After this process is complete and the item rinsed, a second step or sealing treatment is applied. It is during this step that a chromate is applied, and various colors can be realized. This entire operation is also known as “two-step anodizing.”

Applique Motif or design made separately, then sewn or affixed on a cloth or garment.

Awning Cord Small-diameter cord used for tying down awning covers and for many utility purposes; most commonly a cotton braid with stretch-resistant fiber core.

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Bag Test This refers to a rather unscientific test to measure water-resistance of a fabric. Small bags are made out of the material to be tested and filled with water and then hung up on a hook or frame. Time is measured from the filling of the bag to the appearance of water droplets on the bottom of the bag. A good comparison test, assuming everything is equal.

Bale Standard bulk package for shipping raw or processed fibers. A bale of cotton weighs 500 pounds, silk about 128 pounds.

Basket Weave Plain weave with two or more warp and filling threads interlaced to resemble a plaited basket. Has flat look, porosity, and looseness or “give.” Can be heavy or lightweight and made of any fiber.

Belay A term for winding a rope around a stationary object so as to make the rope fast.

Belting Duck Heavy, plain-woven, plied yarn (both warp and filling) duck used primarily for conveyor belts. Has its greatest strength in the warp yarns. Standard width is 42 inches, and weights range from 22 to 48 ounces per 42-inch width.

Bias A line going diagonally across the grain of fabric.

Bight A loop or slack part of a rope, usually between the end and the standing part, made by bringing the end around, near to, or across itself.

Birdseye Cloth A cotton cloth with small geometric designs characterized by small eye-like dots in the center of the patterns. Dobby weave. Usually woven with soft twist yarns to increase absorbency.

Bitter End In tying knots or splicing, refers to the end opposite the end in use.

Blackout A layer of opaque material in laminates that prevents light from passing through.

Bleaching A finishing process for yarns and cloths which eliminates any color and impurities originally found in the product. Also, a preparation for dyeing and for further processing. Increases absorbency and the affinity for dyestuffs.

Blown Filament Monofilament polypropylene into which is blown a special gas during extrusion. When used in making rope, it produces a lighter, less expensive and less strong product, size for size, than standard polypropylene; also called foamed filament.

Bolt A bolt of fabric is usually rolled around a flat piece of cardboard or another inner core. It can also be flat folded which means it is actually reefed into a flat bundle. A bolt is usually 50 to 60 yards of fabric in our trade.

Braid A narrow textile structure formed by plaiting several strands of yarn. Braid is usually used in trimming. Braids may also be made by plaiting several strips of fabric.

Brattice Cloth A plain-woven cotton or jute cloth treated with wood-tar, etc., to achieve resistance to moisture and temperature changes. Used in air ducts to ventilate mines, etc.

Breaking Strength The measured load required to break a fabric or rope under tension; also called tensile strength.

Breathability Permitting air to pass through.

Broken Twill Commonly, a four-leaf twill with a pattern which breaks the usually pronounced wale or diagonal effect for plain twill. May be napped on one side and is used for coating, draperies, upholstery, heavy outer wear, etc.

Bull Rope A large rope used in hauling, lifting or hoisting.

Bunting A plain-weave, loosely woven fabric that is soft, flimsy, and similar to cheesecloth. Available in white or bright colors, it is used primarily for flags, draped pennants, and temporary decorations.

Burlap Coarse, heavy, plain-woven fabric made of jute. Used for wrapping, bagging, wall covering, drapery, and clothing.

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“C” Grade Duck Ounce duck made from tinged, low grade, damaged, frost burned, and other cheaper varieties of cotton. Before the advent of the micronaire system, staple lengths were often highly variable, making the duck much less uniform in strength than ducks made from better cotton. Has poorer color and more trash content than B Grade Duck. Usually woven in a minimum thread count, and used in tarpaulins, cheap covers, etc., after water resistant treatment has been applied. It is generally not suitable for dyeing.

Cable Laid Rope A rope made of three ropes of three strands each, all twisted into a cable.

Cable Net Structure Single-layered anticlastic surface made of two sets of closely spaced cables that are orthogonal (or nearly so) to one another. The net usually supports a fabric or other pliable material.

Cable-and-Strut (or Tensegrity) Structure A planar or curvilinear structure composed of short discontinuous compression elements (struts) connected by tensile members (cables) to form a coherent configuration. Such structures are often referred to as “tensegrity” structures.

Cable Twist A yarn or rope construction in which each successive twist is in the opposite direction to the preceding twist. Defined as “s-z-s” or “z-s-z”.

Cadmium Plating An electro plating process which protects iron and steel. Salt spray tests indicate cadmium is superior to zinc in corrosion resistance.

Calendering A process of passing cloth between rollers (or “calenders”), usually under carefully controlled heat and pressure, to produce a variety of surface textures or effects in fabric.

Cambric A plain woven cotton cloth generally calendered on one side. May be white, black, or in other colors. Used for interlinings in a stiff finish, as a covering cloth under mattresses, etc., or for handkerchiefs, underwear, shirts, etc. when in a soft finish.

Canton Flannel A heavy, warm cotton material with a twilled surface and a long nap on the back produced by napping the heavy soft-twist yarn. It is named for Canton, China, where it was first made. The fabric is strong and absorbent. It is used for interlinings and sleeping garments.

Canvas Cotton, linen or synthetic in heavy weights with an even firm weave, for sails and many industrial purposes. Awning stripe canvas has printed or woven stripes.

Capillary A tube of small internal diameter; holds liquid by capillary action.

Carded Yarn Cotton yarn in which fibers are separated and aligned in a thin web, then condensed into a continuous, untwisted strand called a sliver. Carding removes most of the impurities of the fiber. Cheaper cottons are simply carded. More expensive ones go through an additional cleaning process called combing.

Chafer Duck A wide range of plied and single yarn ducks used in the manufacture of pneumatic tires. Has a medium texture, balanced strength, and weights ranging from 8 to 17 ounces per square yard. Usually made in widths from 40 to 60 inches, and generally made in a plain weave.

Chambray A plain woven cloth with an almost square construction made from print cloth yarn. Usually has colored warp and white filling.

Cheesecloth A very loosely woven plain weave cotton fabric, similar to tobacco cloth. It is used for curtains, costumes and cleaning cloths.

Chino A twilled cotton fabric of combed two-ply yarn. Usually vat dyed, mercerized, and preshrunk. Used mainly for uniforms, sportswear, hobby clothing.

Coated Fabrics that are coated are usually done so with a liquid or semi-liquid product. Coatings can be urethanes, acrylics, PVC, neoprenes, and many other types of substances. Knife over roll: the material rolls past a knife that acts to spread a liquid substance across the width of the fabric. Extrusion: dry chemical mixes are heated and mixed through an extruder and then passed through a roller or die to flatten and spread the substance across the width of the fabric.

Coated Fabrics Fabrics coated, covered, or treated with various substances to make them stronger and/or more resistant to weathering elements. Coating substances include rubber, resins, plastics, PVC, melamines, oil finishes, etc.

Colorfast Having color that will not run or fade with washing or wear.

Combed Cotton Cotton yarn that is cleaned after carding by wire brushes (combs) and roller cards to remove all short fibers and impurities. More expensive than carded cottons.

Commercial Dye – Also known as Direct Dye A group of dyes that dissolves directly in water in the same manner that salt dissolves. These colors always remain water soluble. When wet, they may run or bleed onto other materials on contact. Light fastness ranges from very poor to good. They are not fast to washing or to chlorine.

Continuous Filament A long continuous strand of a manufactured fiber as distinguished from all natural fibers (except raw silk), which are of short staple or length.

Converter Distributor of fabrics who buys grey goods, styles them, has them finished to his order to sell to cutters and retail stores.

Cord Small line made of several yarns.

Cordage The general term that covers all rope, cord, lines, and string.

Cordura Trademark owned by Invista for bulked-filament nylon yarn; used in woven fabrics for industrial uses, shoe uppers, luggage; also used for twine.

Corrosion A state of deterioration in metals caused by oxidation or chemical action.

Cotton Soft vegetable fiber obtained from seed pod of the cotton plant. First known in India about 3,000 BC. The longer the fiber, the better the quality. Lengths vary from less than one-half inch to over two inches; usually they are about one inch. Most cotton is creamy white, but it may be tawny, brownish, reddish, etc. A bale of cotton usually weighs 500 pounds.

Count (1). Number size of a yarn. (2). Number of ends and picks per inch of a weave, or their sum, as 200 count sheeting.

Countersunk A hole with the top part enlarged so that the head of a screw or bolt will lie flush with or below the surface.

Crazing This describes the condition of scratch marks on the surface of fabrics. These can occur as a result of abrasion or folding. It is usually a topical condition and does not affect the fabric’s performance except from an aesthetic point of view.

Crimp To bend, kink, curl or wave a fiber to give it more loft.

Crocking Rubbing off of color as a result of improper dye, poor penetration, or fixation.

Crown Splice Braiding or splicing the end of a rope into itself to prevent fraying and unraveling. An alternative to whipping.

CSFM California State Fire Marshal.

Curtain Cord Small diameter cord used for drapery, traverse cords, draw cords, etc. Most commonly made of braided cotton with various fiber core.

CWT Abbreviation for “Hundred Weight,” meaning per 100 pounds.

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Dacron® An Invista trademark for polyester.

Delamination This describes the separation of the individual plies in a laminate. Laminates are typically made of two or more plies that are fused together under combinations of heat, pressure and adhesive. When a laminate comes apart, delamination has occurred.

Denier Unit of weight indicating size of a fiber filament based on weight in grams of a standard stand of 9,000 meters. The higher the denier number, the heavier the yarn. Used in connection with silk, rayon, acetate, and most man-made fibers.

Denim Washable, inexpensive, strong, twilled cotton cloth made of single yarn. Usually made with colored warp and white filling, but may also be piece dyed or woven in fancy plaids, dobbies, stripes, and two-color iridescent effects. Sometimes printed, scuffed, scrubbed, brushed, faded, to achieve new fashion looks.

De-Sizing A finishing process which removes the original sizing from warp yarns.

Diamond Braid Cordage construction with 8, 12 or 16 strands of fiber braided under and over each other in a circular direction. The center of the rope may be hollow, such as in hollow braid, allowing for easy splicing; or it may have a center core of parallel fibers. It is generally stronger than solid braid, but not as strong as twisted or braid on braid cordage.

Die Casting The forming of parts by forcing molten metal into metal molds. Castings made with this process can be made to very exacting tolerances. Zinc and aluminum are most commonly used.

Di-Electric Welding Certain fabrics with “thermo-plastic” properties, such as vinyl, can be welded together with various machines that use high frequency electrical impulses. Thermatron is a manufacturer of one such machine. A high frequency electrical impulse is sent through the fabrics by means of a bar or table which mixes up the molecular structure of the thermo-plastic materials. When the bar or table is removed, the two fabrics are melted or welded together. This differs from Hot Air Welding, but the end result is the same.

Dimensional Stability Fabrics can stretch and shrink in the warp, fill or bias directions, depending on the construction and/ or fibers employed. When a fabric is dimensionally stable, it means that stretching and shrinking have been controlled to a certain degree.

Direction of Twist A twist of yarn, cord or thread is “S” or “Z” twist. Yarn is held in a vertical position to determine the direction of twist. In S-twist yarn, the spirals conform in shape to the central portion of the letter “S.” In Z-twist, the spirals conform in shape to the central portion of the letter “Z.”

Double Braid Cordage construction with a jacket braided over a braided rope core (two ropes in one). A very strong and flexible rope that doesn’t hockle, kink or rotate under a load. It is spliceable; also called braid on braid, double spliceable braid and yacht braid.

Double Filling Duck A flat weave cloth with single yarn warp and plied yarn filling. The warp yarns are woven in pairs, side by side, are sized, and predominate over the filling yarns. In ounce, or flat ducks, the 8 ounce/sy double filling ducks have a two ply filling, the 10 ounce/sy have a three ply filling, and the 12 ounce/sy have a four ply filling. The same plies pertain for double filled Wagon Duck, but double filled Enameling Ducks have only two ply filling yarns.

Drapery Cord Braided cord of small diameter made usually of cotton with various types of fiber core, such as fiberglass, polyester, etc. Used as draw cords, traverse cords and curtain cords.

Drawing (1). The hot or cold stretching of fibers to increase orientation and reduce size.(2). Process of repeated drafting of fiber slivers on a carding machine and doubling and redoubling of the slivers.

Drill A strong cotton material similar to denim which has a diagonal 2 x 1 twill running up the left selvage.

Duck The term “duck” covers a wide range of fabrics. These are among the most durable fabrics used in consumer goods. Duck is a closely woven, heavy fabric. The most important fabrics in the group are known by such terms as Army Duck, Flat Duck, Ounce Duck and Number Duck. Number and Army Ducks are always of plain weave with medium or heavy ply yarns. Army Ducks are the lighter of the two. Flat and Ounce Ducks are similar. They have single warp yarns woven in pairs and single or ply filling yarns.

Duvetyne A plain or twill woven cloth of cotton, wool, rayon or blend which has been napped, on either one or two sides, and felted in such a manner as to conceal the weave. Similar to suede.

DWR Durable, water repellent. This is usually a silicone water repellent treatment applied to fabrics.

Dyeing, Dope Trade slang for solution dyeing.

Dyeing, Piece Dyeing of cloth after it has been woven. It is the most common method of dyeing used. Various methods used for this type of dyeing include: (a) Beck dyeing, (b) jig dyeing, (c) pad dyeing, and (d) beam dyeing.

Dyeing, Pigment Application of pigment colors to fabric to obtain solid shade, by roller or print machine. Does not unite with textile fiber. Pigments are mechanically held on the surface of a fiber by resin binding agents.

Dyeing, Solution Man-made fabrics, such as acrylic, sometimes are dyed by adding color to the chemical polymer before fibers are formed. Colors are extremely fast and durable.

Dyeing, Stock Dyeing of fibers (or stock) before being spun into yarn.

Dyeing, Yarn Dyeing of yarns before they have been woven or knitted into fabrics.

Dyes, Direct A dye with an affinity for most fibers. Used mainly when color fastness to washing is unimportant. Also known as commercial or substantive dyes.

Dyes, Napthol Insoluble azo dyes formed on the fiber by coupling a napthol prepared with diasotized bases or salts of a base. Used principally to obtain fast, brilliant scarlets and reds at relatively low cost.

Dyes, Reactive Classes of dyes that react chemically with molecules of the fiber, resulting in unusually fast, brilliant colors.

Dyes, Sulphur A dye derived from chemicals containing sulphur, fairly resistant to washing, but has weak resistance to sunlight.

Dyes, Vat Material that has been dyed by insoluble vat colors produced on the fabric by oxidation. Considered the most resistant to both washing and sunlight. Originally applied to fabrics in big wooden vats, hence the name.

Dynamic Loading A sudden or rapid force applied to a rope caused by stopping, jerking, swinging, etc. In some cases, the force may be two, three, or even more times the normal load involved. For example, picking up a tow on a slack line or stopping a falling object can cause a dynamic loading of a rope. Working loads do not apply under such conditions.

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Eave The overhang at the lower edge of a roof.

Eight Strand A plaited (or braided) construction of eight strands; usually found in large sizes for mooring, shipping and towing uses. Exhibits no torque in heavy towing. Made of various fibers.

Electro Galvanized or Electro Plated This is similar to Hot Dip Galvanized except the application process is different and the final appearance is smoother and brighter. Instead of dipping the metal into a hot zinc solution, the metals are charged with positive ions and put into a negative ion solution. The electrical process deposits the solution on the metal in a more uniform manner. An average plating thickness is .0002 inch.

Embossing To raise in relief from a surface.

Enameling Ducks Single or double filling flat ducks made in special widths and weights, enameling ducks are generally for the converting trades. Usually has a higher warp count than found in ounce ducks and other flat ducks, and is not based on the standard 29 inch pro ratas.

Encapsulation The act of enclosing in a capsule; the growth of a membrane around (any part) so as to enclose it in a capsule.

End Same as warp. Refers to the warp yarns. If a fabric has a yarn count of 20 x 30, then it is also expressed as having 20 warp yarns and 30 fill yarns. Or it can be expressed as 20 ends and 30 picks.

End-and-End Weave with two colors alternating in warp yarns.

EPDM Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer.

Eradication The act of removing the pigmented ink from the surface of the substrate.

Extrusion An object or material produced by the act or process of shaping by forcing through a die.

Extrusion Coated When some coated vinyl fabrics are produced, the vinyl is applied in a semi-liquid (molten) state and calendared on by means of a heavy cylinder. The vinyl is extruded in the form of a semi-liquid bar and pressed between large cylinders to spread it onto the fabric.

Eyesplice A fixed loop formed in the end of a line by splicing the end back into its standing part.

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Fake One complete turn of a rope in a coil. A layer of such turns forms a tier and several layers form a coil.

Fiber A unit, either natural or man-made, which forms the basic element or “building block” of fabrics and many other textile structures. Most fibers are characterized by having a length at least 100 times their diameter.

Fiberglas® Trademark owned by Owens Corning Corp. for fine-filament glass fiber.

Fibrillated An extruded filament used in making rope. When a single filament is unlaid, it resembles a net of loosely bonded fibers.

FID A tapered pin used in separating the strands of a rope for splicing.

Filament A fine or thinly spun thread; a fiber.

Filament Fibers Long, continuous fibers that can be measured in meters or yards, or, in the case of man-made fibers, in kilometers or miles.

Filling Yarns Yarns that run perpendicular to the longer dimension or selvage of a fabric; also called picks or weft.

Filter Duck A broad range of ducks from all categories especially selected to meet specific filtration requirements of strength, porosity, and durability.

Fire Proofed A fabric or substance which has been treated so that it is absolutely impervious to flame, and will not, under any circumstances, support a flame. Erroneously used in reference to fire retardant goods.

Fire Retardant Finish A finish rendering a cloth which will repel flame, or which will prevent the spreading of flame, or which will not support a flame. Usually tested for length of time it takes for a flaming portion of the cloth to extinguish itself.

Flannel A one or two sided napped cloth, usually cotton, but may be wool, dynel, rayon, orlon, nylon, etc.

Flat Duck Also known as ounce duck, although the term applies to Wagon Cover Duck, Enameling Duck, Single Filling Duck, Double Filling Duck, etc. Any cloth woven with a flat weave.

Flat Fold Sometimes abbreviated “F/F.” A put-up wherein a continuous cut of cloth is repeatedly folded back over itself by an oscillating arm. After folding, it is usually doubled for baling or packaging.

Fluorocarbon An inert liquid or gaseous halocarbon compound in which fluorine replaces some or all hydrogen molecules; used as aerosol propellants, refrigerants, solvents and lubricants, and in the making of plastics and resins.

FMVSS Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.

F.O.B. Free On Board. Refers to where title to the goods passes from the seller to the buyer. There are many F.O.B. terms, but the most common are “shipping point” and “destination.” If it is F.O.B. shipping point, then title passes to the buyer at the shipping point. The buyer owns the goods once the carrier picks them up, and it infers that the buyer will arrange for transportation. If it is F.O.B. destination, the title passes to the buyer at the destination. This infers that the buyer won’t own the goods until they hit his dock and that the shipper will arrange for transportation. THIS DOES NOT SPECIFY WHO ULTIMATELY PAYS THE FREIGHT. For example, you can have F.O.B. destination terms and the freight goes collect.

Forging The act of shaping metal by hammering or pressing.

Frame-Supported Fabric Structure A structure that is comprised of a frame or frames that form a load-bearing structure without the aid of any fabric or other pliable material. However, the membrane may contribute toward the stability of the structure.

Free-Standing Canopy A self-supporting frame structure covered with fabric or pliable material.

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Gauge Thickness or diameter, as of sheet metal or wire.

Geodesic Dome Spherical, single- or double-layered shells made up of hexagons and pentagons.

Grab Tensile This is a property of fabrics where a machine will try to pull the fabric apart in opposite directions in both the filling and warp directions. The resulting effort is measured in pounds.

Graphics Visual representations used to identify, inform, direct or stimulate the viewer.

Greige French term for raw, pronounced “gray.” In textiles, it is the raw fabric made before it is finished.

Grid Shell Structure A curvilinear surface (synclastic or anticlastic) composed of linear elements configured to form squares, triangles and/or parallelograms. They may be singleor double-layered, and sometimes employ in-plane cables for stability and shear resistance.

Guarantee A promise or an assurance, especially one given in writing, that attests to the quality or durability of a product or service.

Gudgeon A metal pivot or journal at the end of a shaft or an axle, around which a wheel or other device turns.

Guy Rope A rope used for steadying or supporting something, such as a rope to strengthen an upright pole used to support a tent.

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Halyard A line used for hoisting or lowering a sail or a flag.

Hand The feel of a fabric or rope to the touch, its roughness, slipperiness, suppleness, etc.

HDPE High Density Polyethylene.

Headrod The rod at the top or head of an awning.

Heat Color Transfer A graphic process that uses heat and a vacuum to adhere color to fabric.

Heat Set When goods are washed in hot water, they become “set.” That is, the goods take on new characteristics when set, which determine stability of the fabric. This is much like “tempering” steel.

Heat Treatment Any process involving heating and cooling an alloy to modify its properties. This process can either make the alloy harder or softer.

Hemp A soft fiber from the Cannabis Sativa plant, no longer in wide use.

Henequin The Agave Fourcroydes, a plant native of Yucatan, Mexico, the fibers of which are used in making sisal cordage.

Herringbone Twill A cloth made in a twill weave in which the pattern is reversed at regular intervals to give an effect of chevrons or zigzags.

Hockle A backturn; a twist against the lay that cannot be corrected. It can lessen the tensile strength by as much as 50%. Braided or plaited rope cannot hockle.

Hog Ring A slang term for loop or end clamps.

Hollow Braid An easily spliced cord of a diamond braid construction; most common in nylon or polypropylene – for example, water ski tow rope.

Hot Dip Galvanized This refers to a finish that is the result of metal being dipped into a hot solution of zinc to add a protective, “sacrificial” coating to the metal. Awning iron and some malleable fittings have typically been hot dip galvanized.

Hydrostats More formally, hydrostatic pressure. This is the pressure, measured in pounds per square inch, that it takes to pass water through a fabric.

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I.D. Inside Diameter.

InterleafWhen paper is rolled with clear vinyl for protection.

Interstices A space between closely set items such as the yarns of a fabric.

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Jacquard Weave The type of weave to be seen in damasks, brocades, tapestries, and other complicated cloths. Made on a Jacquard loom which provides mechanisms to control the action of each warp yarn individually, if necessary.

Jute An annual plant grown mainly in India from which comes a soft fiber for rope, cordage, twine, burlap and many other uses.

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Khaki A tannish-mustard color. Comes from the Khaki River in India which contains sufficient minerals to give this color to white cloth.

Kink A sharp blend or twist in a rope that permanently distorts the strands.

Knitted Fabric Different from weaving, because it uses a tying stitch to hold the other yarns together. Knitted fabrics typically stretch more than woven fabrics. Many of the substrates used in laminates are knitted, since knitting is usually faster and less expensive than woven fabrics.

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Laminate Laminated fabrics are made of two or more plies fused together under a combination of heat, pressure and adhesives. Weblon, Herculite, and Lam-A-Lite are examples of a laminated fabric.

Latex The raw milky juice which is coagulated to form rubber.

Lay As a verb, to twist strands together to form a rope. As a noun, the direction of the twist of a rope, the amount of turn put in it, or the angle of the strands. When the word is used to indicate tightness of the twist, rope usually is spoken of being hard-lay, medium-lay, or soft-lay. If something is done in a direction in which the strands are twisted, it is with the lay. Against the lay is the direction opposite the twist of the strands.

Left-Handed Twist A “Z” twist or a twist that would be unlaid in a clock-wise direction.

Line A cable, rope, string, cord or wire.

Linear Density In rope specifications, means weight per given unit of length; for example, pounds per 100 feet.

Loop Selvage A selvage developed for the coating trades in which the selvage is no thicker than the body of the cloth.

Lycra® Trademark owned by DuPont for polyurethane multifilament spandex elastomer. The fused multifilaments in a bundle form a monofilament yarn that stretches and snaps back into place like rubber. Launched in 1958 as Fiber K.

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Mainsheet A rope by which the mainsail is trimmed and secured.

Malleable Iron A cast ferrous alloy consisting principally of iron and carbon which is made stronger and ductile by heat treatment (annealing). The heat treatment removes the brittleness normally associated with most cast iron and adds resistance to breakage under heavy impact or distortion.

Manila Rope made from abaca fiber. It can indicate either the fiber or the rope.

Marquee A lightweight frame structure or series of perimeter poles and/or masts covered with fabric or pliable material adjoined to one or more structures.

Mason Line A utility cord used for alignment in construction and other uses.

Maypole Braid A non-spliceable braid constructed with 8, 12, or 16 strands of fibers braided around center core of parallel fibers. The strands form a herringbone pattern on the rope. May also refer to diamond braid.

Mercerizing Finish named for originator, John Mercer. Used on cotton yarns and fabrics to increase luster and to improve stretch and dyeability. Treatment consists of impregnating fabrics with cold concentrated sodium hydroxide solution. Best results are obtained on combed goods. Widely used for knitted fabrics, and on wool for high luster and strength.

Mesh Any fabric, knitted or woven, mesh has an open texture, fine or coarse.

Mil A unit of length equal to one thousandth (10) of an inch (0.0254 millimeter) used, for example, to specify the diameter of wire or the thickness of materials sold in sheets.

Mildewproof It is unlikely that any fabric can be rendered permanently mildewproof under all conditions. “Mildew Resistant” is a more proper term. Usually refers to a treatment on a cloth with various non-toxic chemical compounds that poison or discourage the growth of mold and fungi. Effectiveness is directly proportional to the type of fungicide and the quantity of fungicide contained in the finished cloth (to the point of maximum potency). The treatment may be durable or non-durable.

Mineral Dye A group of metallic oxides and hydrates which react chemically in a cloth to produce colors of extreme fastness to light and weather. Colors are produced from iron, chromium, lead, tin, cadmium.

Modacrylic Generic name established by the Federal Trade Commission for “a manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is any long-chain synthetic polymer composed of less than 85% but at least 35% by weight of acrylontrile units, except when it qualifies as rubber.”

Modulus A measure used to explain how a fabric reacts when it is tensioned and relaxed, such as snow and wind loads, elasticity, memory, stretch and shrinkage.

Monofilament A single filament of man-made fiber, used as a yarn.

Multifilament Several filaments combined into a single yarn unit.

Muslin Generic term for a wide variety of cotton fabrics ranging from thin batiste to heavy sheeting.

Mylar® Polyester Trademark owned by DuPont for a durable transparent water repellent polyester film. One of its uses is in laminating aluminum metal yarns.

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Napped Various fabrics finished with a brushing that raises the surface.

Natural Fiber Any organic fiber such as cotton, jute, manila, sisal, etc.

Neoprene A synthetic rubber produced by polymerization of chloroprene and used in weather-resistant products.

NFPA National Fire Protection Association.

Nomex® Trademark owned by DuPont for HT-1 fiber, a high temperature heat resistant nylon filament or staple fiber that can withstand heat up to 1,000° F.

Non-Woven Neither woven, knitted, nor spun. A material made of fibers in a web or mat held together by a bonding agent.

Number Duck Tight, firm, plain woven plied yarn (both warp and filling) cloth in widths ranging from 22 to 150 inches and weights ranging from 7 to 30 ounces per 22 inch linear yard. Each basic weight and construction is designated by a number which identifies its entire range of widths. Numbers range from No. 2/0 to No. 12. The basic width for all numbers is 22 inches, and all other widths are pro rata to that weight and width. Also called wide duck.

Nylon Any of a family of high strength, resilient synthetic materials, the long-chain molecule of which contains the recurring amide group CONH.

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O.D. Outside Diameter.

Olefin Any of a class of unsaturated hydrocarbons such as ethylenes having the general formula CuH2n. Polypropylene and polyethylene are both olefin fibers.

Opaque Impenetrable by light; neither transparent nor translucent.

Osnaburg Named for the town in Germany where it was first made. A coarse cotton or blended fiber fabric in a plain weave. It is finished for use in upholstery, slacks, and sportswear. It was originally used unbleached for grain and cement sacks.

Ounce Duck See “Single Filling Duck” and “Double Filling Duck.” A term applied to single and filling ounce ducks, or flat ducks, produced in the basic widths of 36, 48 and 60 inches.

Oxford Cloth A dress and shirting cloth made in a basket weave. May be of single or plied yarns, or a filling, in combinations of two, three, four or more yarns woven side by side as one.

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Painted Cloths Cloths which have been finished by painting in solid colors or in assorted stripes. The paint is generally applied to the surface of the cloth from fonts as the rolls of cloth pass under them. Used for awnings, outdoor furniture, umbrellas.

Passivation A process used to remove surface contamination from Stainless Steel Castings by immersing in various heated solutions, primarily nitric acid and water.

Pearl Gray This refers to a color that is a combination of green and gray. PG or Pee Gee are acronyms for pearl gray and typically refer to the color of the underside of fabrics. Pearl Gray is also a color in Sunforger. The color has good hiding or masking characteristics and is considered neutral.

Permeability The rate of flow of a liquid or gas through a porous material.

Pick The number of individual filling yarns, either single or plied, in an inch of length of a cloth. A cloth designated as “30 pick goods” contains 30 filling yarns per inch of length.

Piece Dyeing Material dyed in the piece after weaving.

Pigment Any material from which a dye, paint or the like, may be prepared; particularly, the refined and purified coloring matter ready for mixing with an appropriate vehicle.

Pilling The formation of little fuzzy balls on a fabric surface caused by the rubbing off of loose ends of fiber too long or strong to break away entirely.

Plain-Laid A rope in which three strands of left-handed yarn are twisted together to form a standard right-hand rope.

Plain Weave One of the three basic weaves. In plain weave, each filling yarn passes successively over and under each warp yarn with each row alternating.

Plaited Braided; generally refers to 8 strand large diameter rope in either a square or round braided construction.

Plating A thin coating of metal deposited on a surface.

Pleat ‘N Roll A term used in marine seating which is synonymous with “quilted.”

Plied-Yarn Yarn made by twisting together two or more single yarns in one operation.

Plied-Yarn Fabrics Cloths made of varied or similar yarns twisted together in two-ply, three-ply, four-ply, etc.

Ply One of the strands twisted together to make yarn, rope, thread or twine; used in combination to indicate a specified number of strands (example: two ply).

Pneumatic Moved or worked by pressure or flow of air.

Polished (Glazed) A cotton cord that has been run through a gum and pigment polish to give it a gloss.

Polyester A synthetic fiber used for its strength and resistance to ultraviolet deterioration. It does not have the stretch and elasticity of nylon and, as a result, will often last longer.

Polyethylene A floating polyolefin fiber similar to polypropylene, but a little heavier and not quite as strong.

Polyfoam A monofilament polypropylene into which gas is blown during extrusion, thus producing a lighter weight, less expensive, less strong rope or twine, size for size, than standard polypropylene.

Polymer A synthetic material from which fibers are formed. Usually composed of large molecules formed by the union of single molecules (monomers) with each other.

Polyolefin A synthetic fiber group in which the fiber forming substance is any long-chain synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of ethylene, propylene, or other olefin units. Polyethylene and polypropylene represent this group.

Polypro Short for polypropylene.

Polypropylene A lightweight, strong fiber with many uses. It is waterproof and rot resistant and floats. For most rope requirements, it is the most economical rope to buy.

Poplin Term applied to fabrics with fine imbedded rib running from selvage to selvage.

Put UpHow a fabric is supplied, typically by length per roll. A standard cut per roll is often provided.

Pressure Sensitive Graphics Pressure sensitive vinyl film cut to a desired design and applied to fabric as decoration.

Pro Rata Literally, “in proportion.” In textiles, the term is usually employed in relation to prices or weights of cloth.

PVC Polyvinyl Chloride. A polymer used for vinyl fabrics.

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Quilting Two or more layers of cloth with padding between, stitched through by hand, machine, chemical methods, or di-electric welding, usually in a pattern such as diamonds, rolls, etc.

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Rafter One of several parallel sloping beams supporting a roof.

Railroading When the pattern of a fabric-awning runs in the horizontal direction, perpendicular to the selvage.

Rayon A generic name for man-made fibers, monofilaments and continuous filaments, made from regenerated cellulose. Fibers produced by both viscose and cuprammonium processes are classified as rayon.

Reeve To put the end of a rope through an eye or opening as through a block or a pulley.

Ridge Rope The backbone rope of a tent or awning.

Right Hand Twist An “S” twist or a twist that would be unlaid in a counter-clockwise direction.

Ring Twister A spinning machine used in yarn manufacture. Imparts twist in aligned fibers.

Roll Fabric that is wound on a round inner core such as a tube. A roll can contain about 30 to 150 yards. Also known as a "bolt.”

Rom or Rol From Worth Street Rules. Technically, the expression “run of the loom” can be applied only to cloth. It is used to describe cloth as it comes from the loom in the normal course of manufacture and before it has been classified as first quality, second quality, and other inferior gradings. Under either description, the buyer is entitled to expect approximately the normal proportion of the several gradings which the subject mill makes when running the products specified. This naturally means a preponderance of first quality goods. However, it is considered unfair practice for a seller to so describe any particular bad lot of merchandise, even though such a description would be accurate. Therefore, it is customary for the mill to eliminate from goods so described any merchandise which may not be fairly classified as first or second quality.

Rope Strictly speaking, any cord of more than one inch circumference. However, most people except sailors call anything that isn’t a string a rope, and that has become the common use of the word. Dictionaries accept the definition of rope as any twisting of fibers to make a large cord.

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S-Twist A right handed twist; a twist that would be unlaid by turning the yarn or rope in a counterclockwise direction.

Safety Factor A number that the tensile strength is divided by in order to determine the safe working load (for new rope in good condition with proper splices).

Sanforized™ Trademark owned by Cluett, Peabody & Company for fabrics processed by machine so that residual shrinkage will not exceed 1% in either direction. The firm licenses its process in the United States and abroad under a quality-control program.

Sash Cord A cord used within the frame of certain windows that works on a pulley to help raise and lower the window easily within its frame. It is generally a solid braid cotton with various fiber cores for low stretch; a sash cord may also be used for other utility purposes.

Sateen Cotton cloth made in a satin weave. Usually mercerized, often treated with high-luster and crease-resistant finishes.

Scotchgard® Trademark owned by Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company for fluoride-based, stain-repellent, rain-repellent finish. Special formulations are made for leather.

Scour Most fabrics need to be scoured or washed in hot water to remove stains, oils and other impurities prior to finishing them.

Screen Prints Similar to stencil work, except that a screen of fine silk, nylon, polyester or metal mesh is employed. Certain areas of the screen are treated to take dye, others to resist dye. A paste color is forced through the screen onto the fabric by a squeegee to form the pattern. Separate screens are used for each color in the pattern. More expensive than roller printing, but for limited yardage and more delicate designs, often more economical.

Scrim An open mesh, plain weave cloth made with single or plied yarns. When made in aleno weave, it is similar to marquisette.

Seconds According to Worth Street Rules, the word “seconds” is applied to cloth inferior in grading to that which the subject mill grades as “Standard” or “First Quality.” It is commonly used to describe cloth containing greater or more weaving imperfections than the standard established by the subject mill, but it also may be applied to cloth made of irregular yarn. It may be applied, however, only with respect to manufacturing imperfections. Goods described as “seconds” must be merchantable; that is, they must be reasonably free from major weaving imperfections; such as extensive filling skips or warp break-outs. Oil stained greige goods which have not been treated with oil-remover, colored goods which are off-shade, shaded in the piece or streaked, tender goods, goods with torn selvages, badly mixed filling, or extensive hanging threads, and goods containing mildew, pinhole damage, or other similar imperfections may not be described as “seconds,” but should be classified, packed separately, and sold by specific description, or by sample, if possible. Unfortunately, the grading of cloth does not lend itself to specific definition. Therefore, in this respect, the buyer should acquaint himself with the reputation of the subject mill. If the use to which the cloth is to be put requires an unusual degree of perfection, seller is entitled to be so informed.

SEF Self-Extinguishing Fiber; a modacrylic.

Self-Drilling Screws Screws that work as both a drill bit and a fastener, great for fastening thin pieces of metal together. Because of the drill bit end, they do not need a pilot hole.

Self-Tapping Screws Screws that tap their own thread. When the screw is driven into the pilot hole, its threads will dig into the material to hold it in place. Self-tapping screws can be used on many kind of materials, including wood, brick, and metal.

Selvage Heavy, reinforced outside woven edges of cloth. Sometimes spelled “selvedge.”

Shackle A small U-shaped fitting often used to join the thimble in an eyesplice to a fitting. The open end is connected by a screw pin. (A snap shackle has a spring loaded pin).

Sheave A grooved wheel or roller in a block or pulley over which the rope passes.

Sheeting A single carded or combed yarn (both warp and filling), plain woven cloth made from 31 inches wide to extremely wide widths.

Shock Cord An elastic cord used for tie-down purposes, snubbing gear, etc., made of elastic rubber core with a braided synthetic or cotton fiber jacket.

Shorts Short lengths of cloth under 40 yards in length, usually sold at discounts from the price of first quality, full piece goods. Usually stated as 1/10’s (1 to 10 yard lengths), 2/10’s, 10/20’s, 10/40’s, 20/40’s, etc.

Shrinkage Treatments to remove most of a fabric’s tendency to shrink. Sponging, steaming, machine shrinking, coldwater shrinking, and resin applications are some of the more common techniques.

Silicone Any of a large class of siloxanes that are unusually stable over a wide range of temperature; used in lubricants, adhesives, coatings, synthetic rubber and electrical insulation.

Silk Screen Colored ink transferred to fabric through the use of screens.

Single Cuts and Double Cuts From Worth Street Rules, the expression “single cuts” means pieces not less than 40 yards or over 79 3⁄4 yards in length. The expression “double cuts” means pieces averaging over 105 yards to the shipment. No piece shorter than 80 yards may be described as a double cut. In the instances of print cloths, pajama checks, sheetings, drills and four leaf twills, 85% of the yardage of the contract should be delivered in double cuts and not more than 15% in single cuts. However, a shipment of 10,000 yards to 15,000 yards may include one bale of single cuts. In the instances of broadcloths, pocketing twills, warp and filling sateens, jeans and similar fabrics, that is, cloth which by reason of complicated weave or of high count in either warp or filling are subject to extra difficulty in manufacture, 80% of the yardage of the contract should be delivered in double cuts, and not more than 20% in single cuts. However, a shipment for 10,000 yards to 15,000 yards may include one bale of single cuts. These limitations with respect to relative percentages of single and double cuts do not apply to fine goods, either staple or fancy.

Single Filling Duck A flat weave cloth with single yarns in warp and filling. The warp yarns are woven in pairs, side by side, are sized, and are predominant over the filling yarns. May be ounce duck, wagon cover duck, enameling duck, etc., although the term usually refers to ounce or flat duck. Designated or specified in ounces per linear yard.

Sisal Rope or twine made from the fibers of the agave.

Sizing (1.) The resin, starch, glue, cassein, wax, clay, or other compounds used to stiffen and strengthen single warp yarns before weaving. (2.) A finishing process in which cloth is stiffened or heavied by the addition of substances.

Sling A line passed around something to lift or pull it, such as slinging an object that is to be hoisted. A lifting strap of rope.

Sliver A continuous strand of parallel overlapping natural fibers (manila, cotton, sisal, jute, etc.) ready for twisting.

Slub Soft, thick, uneven nub in a yarn that gives decorative textured effect to a weave.

Solid Braid A construction of 9, 12 or 18 strands of fiber, lock-stitched together. It has a smooth, round, firm contour which holds its shape well under pressure and load. Excellent in pulleys and winches and wherever a firm round rope is needed. It is not as strong as other braids nor is it spliceable.

Spandex Generic name established by Federal Trade Commission for a manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is a long-chain synthetic polymer comprised of at least 85% of a segmented polyurethane. These are the common elastomers of stretch fabric. (The term “Spandex” is not a generic term abroad. Mass use of it outside the United States might conflict with the rights of third parties with similar names orrademarks.)

Spar In general, any mast, yard, pole or boom.

Spinnaker A light, very large three-cornered sail set flying forward of all fore stays. Used on racing yachts when running before the wind.

Splice To join two parts of rope together by interweaving the ends or strands.

Spray Rating Water is sprayed onto a fabric at a 45 degree angle until it appears on the opposite side. This is another way to test for water repellency.

Spun A fiber that has been texturized by spinning before it is twisted into yarn, giving it a woolly texture, similar to cotton. It is common in nylon, polyester and Dacron

Spun Yarns Yarns composed of staple fibers.

Stainless Steel As the name implies, this is a special steel alloy that is made more stainless than regular steel, due to higher concentrations of chromium and nickel. Note: it does not say stain proof. There are many grades of stainless steel, the more common being #304 and #316. #304 is commonly used for wire forms, and #316 for investment castings (such as most of Tri Vantage’s boat top hardware).

Staple Length of the raw fiber, both natural and man-made. Usually short lengths rather than one continuous strand or filament.

Staple In Fabric is stapled into an aluminum slot on a framing member.

Strand Yarns twisted together form a strand or ready. Strands twisted or plaited together form a rope.

Substrate An underlying layer; a substratrum.

Sulphur Dye Dyes which are not soluble in water, but are dissolved in a chemical solution and applied to cloths while in solution. After application, they are rendered insoluble by washing away the dissolving chemical. They are wash fast. Light fastness ranges from poor to good.

Synthetic Fiber Any non-organic fiber.

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Tabling (Nautical) A broad hem on the edge of a sail.

Tackle A combination of ropes and blocks for the purpose of increasing the pull or gaining leverage.

Tape Selvage 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch on each side of the cloth.

Tarpaulin Duck See “C” Grade Duck. A name commonly applied to C Grade ounce, or flat duck. Actually, tarpaulin duck may be any such fabric, with or without treatments added.

Tear Strength This refers to a type of test performed on materials. Typically, a sample of material is slit at the edge and held between the jaws of a machine that applies continually increasing amounts of pressure on the slit. When the material starts to tear, the machine records the amount of pressure (usually expressed in pounds) it took to tear the material. This test is usually run for both the warp and filling of a fabric.

TeflonTrademark owned by DuPont for fluorocarbon filament yarn, staple, tow and flock.

Tempering To harden or strengthen (metal or glass) by application of heat or by heating and cooling.

Tenacity The greatest longitudinal stress a substance can bear without tearing asunder; usually expressed with reference to a unit area of the cross section of the substance, as the number of pounds per square inch, or kilograms per square centimeter, necessary to produce rupture.

Tensile Strength The resistance of fabric or rope to a force tending to break it; also called breaking strength, or the force that must be applied to break a fabric or rope.

Textured Yarns Yarns that develop stretch and/or bulk as a part of subsequent processing. The process imparts the desirable properties of spun staple yarns to filament yarns.

Texturize To process fibers in such a way as to add texture and/ or loft to the fiber (crimping, spinning, etc.).

Thimble Metal ring or eyelet around which a line is spliced. The line fits into the concave outside; the convex inside bears the strain and wear.

Ticking A cotton cloth which, when in a twill weave, is usually striped or in patterns and used for mattresses, pillows, etc. In a plain weave, usually finished in the greige or bleached, and used as a down-proofed fabric for covering down-filled pillows, sleeping bags, furniture, etc.

Tongue Tear This is a property of fabrics where a machine will tear a strip of fabric across the warp and filling. The resulting effort is measured in pounds.

Torque The tendency of materials to rotate under a load.

Translucence The quality of allowing light to pass diffusely.

Tuck ‘N Roll A term used in marine seating which is synonymous with “quilted.”

Twill Weave One of the three basic weaves. Yarns are interlaced in such a manner that dominant diagonal lines are observed. The weave is characterized by a series of floats staggered in a definite pattern in the warp direction.

Twine A strong string or cord made of two or more threads twisted together.

Two Piece Roll Refers to number duck and wagon cover duck, which are generally put up in one continuous piece on a roll from 80 to about 110 yards. A two piece roll will contain two pieces, neither of which will be less than 40 yards in length, instead of one continuous piece.

Tyvek Trademark owned by DuPont for spunbonded high- density material made of olefin fibers and used as wall- covering substrate, for disposable apparel or industrial uses.

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Up the Roll When the pattern of a fabric runs in the vertical direction, parallel to the selvage.

Urethane A colorless or white crystalline compound, CO(NH2) OC2H5, used in organic synthesis.

U.S. Army Duck A tight, plain woven plied yarn (both warp and filling) cloth made in 37 inch; 8, 10, 12 and 15 ounce weights, and pro rata wider widths. Used for army tents, covers, awnings, etc.

UV Resistance Ability to withstand decay due to the damaging effect of the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

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Venetian Blind Cord A braided cord generally of nylon or cotton with various fiber core.

Vinyl Any of various compounds containing the vinyl radical, typically highly reactive, easily polymerized, and used as basic materials for plastics.

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Wagon Cover Duck Single or double filling flat, or ounce ducks, woven in standard widths for 48, 54, 60, 66, 72, 84 and 90 inch widths, and all based on the 29 inch width in pro ratas to 8 ounce, 10 ounce and 12 ounce. Actually, wagon cover ducks are merely wide ounce ducks.

Warp Set of lengthwise yarns in a loom through which the crosswise filling yarns (weft) are interlaced. Sometimes called ends.

Warranty An assurance by the seller of property that the goods or property are as represented or will be as promised.

Water Repellent Finish A finish, either durable or non-durable, applied to cloth which makes it relatively impervious to the effects of water. Generally, a water repellent finish does not close the pores of a cloth.

Waterproof The use of the term in relation to treated cotton ducks is prohibited by the “Fair Trade Practices Act” unless “the product shall be impervious to the passage of any water so long as the fabric may endure.” Water Resistant is the proper designation for cloths treated to resist water penetration and leakage.

Webbing A sturdy fabric woven in narrow widths for use where strength is required as for seat belts, head bands, etc.

Weft The horizontal threads interlaced through the warp in a woven fabric.

Weft Yarns Same as filling yarns.

Welt Cord A tape or covered cord sewn into a seam as reinforcement or trimming.

Whip Cord or thread used to lash the end of a rope to prevent it from fraying.

Wickability The property of a fiber that allows moisture to move rapidly along the fiber surface and pass quickly through the fabric.

Wide Duck A phrase often used in place of Number Duck, as the meanings are identical. Generally refers to number ducks ranging from 22 to 150 inches in width.

Wind Whip The action of a material caused by wind as in a flag.

Working Load Also known as working strength. This is the weight in pounds recommended for safe working conditions. It is applied to new rope in good condition with appropriate splices and only under normal service conditions. Where dynamic loading may occur, the recommended working load should be adjusted accordingly.

Woven Fabric Fabric composed of at least two sets of yarns – one warp (longitudinal) and one filling (crosswise), laced at right angles to each other.

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Yarn Any number of individual threads or fibers twisted together.

Yarn Dyed Cloth Cloth made from yarns which have been dyed prior to weaving, as opposed to cloth which is colored by dyeing after weaving.

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Z-Twist Left handed twist; a twist that would be unlaid by turning the yarn or rope in a clockwise direction.

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