The traditional flax industry of Europe has not actively promoted the development of objective standards and continues to rely on subjective ways of characterization.  Various classification schemes exist with an industry segment and include criteria such as the source (e.g. Belgium, France, Russia or China), the processing history (e.g. water or dew retted) or the application (e.g. warp or weft yard).  Within particular countries (e.g. Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, or Russia), measurement of flax fibers is done by more less consistent means, and therefore a limited classification system exists.

A suitable example for instrument testing of flax is given with the measurement of fineness.  Fineness is usually considered as the most important quality characteristic of flax.  The fineness of flax can be measured by different methods, the most common one, and the only internationally standardized one ISO 2370 Standard Test Method.  ISO 2370 includes two different methods, a reference method considering different densities, and a simplified method neglecting possible variations in fiber density. 

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