DOI: 10.1515/aut-2003-030303 ISSN: 2300-0929


M. de Araújo, R. Fangueiro, H. Hong
  • General Materials Science


This paper is in four parts. The first is related to general considerations and experimental analyses, and each of the successive papers is related to different approaches to theoretical analyses of the mechanical behaviour of weft-knitted fabrics and weft-knitted reinforced composites made of glass fibre. The objective is to find ways of improving the mechanical properties and simulating the mechanical behaviour of knitted fabrics and knitted reinforced composites, so that the engineering design of such materials and structures may be improved. In Part I, general considerations, experimental analyses and ways of improving the mechanical properties of weft-knitted fabrics and knitted reinforced composites are discussed. In Part II the first model is presented, a 3D model based on the classic elastica theory, and it is used to calculate the load-extension curves of a plain weft-knitted fabric in coursewise and walewise directions. Good agreement is obtained between theoretical and experimental results. In Part III the second model is presented, a 2D model based on FEA (finite element analyses). A plain weft knitted fabric, based on the simple loop structure, is simplified and represented by a 2D hexagonal structure constructed by non-linear truss elements. The characteristics of the truss elements for FEA simulation are obtained from experimental results through an analytical method when a loop is converted to a FEA model. The elongation deformation is simulated in one, two and many directions. The model can also be used to calculate a planar knitted fabric to be deformed to fit a 3D spherical mould. In Part IV the technologies for the development of weft-knitted 3D complex shape preforms] are surveyed and a third model is presented, a 3D model based on FEA (finite element analyses). A solid representation of a 2D yarn is built up, and a MES (mechanical event simulation) is applied to obtain a 3D shaped loop. The final knitted fabric geometry is obtained by interacting this loop with the adjacent loops, according to the dimensional properties of the knitted fabrics and by using a MES. Finally, the geometry of the reinforcement inside the composite is built up, and the composite material is divided into small tetrahedric elements to obtain a mesh of finite tetrahedric elements (FEA). The average values of the mechanical properties are obtained with FEA and compared with the experimental ones.

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