Soft Solids

Samira Akhavan

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Zane Berzina

Sächsischen Textilforschungsinstitut (STFI)

During the construction of its web, the spider produces different threads with different properties through several glands, which it arranges in a functional grid. This process of surface production by extrusion of material can be seen in analogy to the technology of 3D printing. Inspired by the spider’s web, research was carried out into how this digital manufacturing technology, in combination with weaving manufacturing processes, is suitable for creating novel textile grid surfaces.

In this project 3D printing is used as a textile construction technique that connects warp threads to form a surface. Thus flexible yarns and rigid 3D printing filaments are combined into open grid surfaces by crossing and interconnecting with each other. The combination of the contrasting materials results in material effects between stability and flexibility. The warp density and the choice of yarns and filaments can be used to achieve different material densities and properties. As in the weaving process, the warp threads are printed upon in repeat several times, so that material of unlimited length can be produced even with a smaller printer bed. The project outlines the concept of extending the functions of a 3D printer by add-ons such as a fabric and warp beam. 3D printing technology can thus be thought of as part of a multistage textile process chain. The resulting materials consisting of yarn and 3D printing filament can then be further processed, e.g. by thermoplastic processes. The combination of filaments and yarns is carried out under ecological aspects resulting in two groups of composite materials with different material cycles. Two material systems have been established for this practice-led design investigation: On the one hand, bio-based and compostable filaments (PHB) are combined with natural fibres, which enables natural composting. On the other hand, a monomaterial is created from the combination of PLA filament and PLA yarns, which guarantees the recycling of the materials.