UBC team reduces wrinkles in textile composite manufacturing

Even the smallest of wrinkles during the manufacturing process can diminish textile composite strength by up to 50 percent. 

0 May 9, 2018
Staff

UBC textile composites

Engineering professor Abbas Milani and graduate student Armin Rashidi use 3D scanning equipment to analyze textile composites. Photo courtesy of UBC Okanagan.

When it comes to making textile composites, wrinkling can be a significant problem. But the researchers at UBC’s Okanagan campus are on it.

Wrinkling is one of the most common flaws in textile composites, which are known for their strength and durability. Textile composites are commonly used in prototypes but are often found in prominent aerospace, energy, automotive and marine applications.

Abbas Milani, a professor in UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering, explains that even the smallest of wrinkles during the manufacturing process can diminish composite strength by up to 50 percent.

Researchers at UBC’s Composite Research Network-Okanagan learned that the best way to solve the problem and improve material effectiveness is to pull the materials in two directions simultaneously during the manufacturing process. In order to do this, the team designed a custom-made biaxial fixture, where a clamp stretches the textile taught and removes unwanted bumps and folds.

“The challenge was to avoid unwanted fibre misalignment or fibre rupture while capturing the out-of-plane wrinkles,” says graduate student Armin Rashidi.

In order to test the effectiveness, the research stretched the material and used specialized image processing and 3D scanning to analyze the required forces and its impact on the wrinkling and de-wrinkling of the material.

In order to predict the right amount of force needed to diminish the wrinkles in the final product, the team created a multi-step test to assess the magnitude of the required forces needed to smooth out wrinkles of different sizes that were formed at different shear angles of a comingled fibreglass-propylene plain weave fabric.

“As we continue to innovate in the area of composite textiles to include more polymer resin and fibre reinforcement options, this research will need to continue in order to provide the most up-to-date analysis for manufacturers in different application areas,” adds Milani, director of the Materials and Manufacturing Research Institute.

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