3D weaving loom – the future of material engineering

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Conventional weaving technology allows to create various textile materials that find their applications in multiple fields – from art to industry. Properties of woven textile materials are unique compared to polymeric films and other flat materials as they are more responsive, and shapeable, thus in many cases, having better mechanical performance. They are also widely used as reinforcement for composites, being their crucial constituent. Although versatility of woven textiles is unquestionable, their 2D form significantly limits their applications. Also their peculiar mechanical performance makes them a material that should not be omitted when we think of 3D constructs. Unlike 3D printed materials, 3D woven fabrics are much more consistent, do not require any post-processing and are characterised by high flexibility. Also for many applications, their permeable form is a desired feature. For example in an implantation it is a crucial characteristic that allows tissue to overgrow the material, easing the implant’s acceptance by the system. Moreover, the 3D textile can act as a reinforcement for more complicated composite materials with excellent mechanical behaviour due to the material’s uniformity (in normal composite the textiles often overlap each other causing uniformities in the material).

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Lexus develops ‚carbon fiber loom’ for the LF-A supercar

„Few technological advancements have been as important in the auto industry as the development of carbon fiber. Lighter yet stronger than most materials that were once used in building vehicles, carbon fiber has become an integral element in the development of some of the world’s fastest and most powerful cars on the planet, including Formula One race cars.

(…) The revolutionary loom is able to weave three-dimensional carbon fiber shapes that will be put in the company’s supercar, including the steering wheel and the A-pillar. Knowing the great lengths company’s go through to outfit as much carbon fiber as possible on their supercars, Lexus saw fit to take the game to a whole new level with the invention of the carbon fiber loom, a technology that’s the first of its kind in the world.”

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