Fray: "Intransitive verb: to wear out or into shreds or to show signs of strain"
Synonyms in English
Erode, frazzle, unravel, wear away, rub.
The fraying is usually found to happen with textiles or animals skins e.g. leather. Fraying occurs when the surface of the material is rubbed against another surface (could be itself) to the extent that the fibers become weak, unwoven, or tattered due to said friction. Fraying can occur from not only from human consumption but also from exposure to elements or laundering."When abrasive, acidic soil from the environment becomes embedded in the fibers it weakens and disfigures the textile" (Winterthur) Once the threads of the material become weakened and pulled out of the weave they become a liability to the object's integrity. Fraying not only damages the integrity to the object it also interferes with the ability for the object to be on display. Fraying causes lightening of the dye and creates and, under the right lighting, is a fire hazard as the fibers become dry and brittle.
United States. National Park Service. (2015, March 27). Museum Conservation in the NPS: Stabilization. Retrieved March 27, 2015, from http://www.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/conservation/stable.htm
Winterthur. (2009, January 1). Retrieved March 27, 2015, from http://www.winterthur.org/?p=455