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Woven Light: Design of a Solar Fiber Tension Structure Shade Prototype Using Fiber Optic Strands

The Woven Light project  is a solar fiber tension structure shade prototype that substitutes polymer fiber optic strands for solar photovoltaic [PV] strands to understand the problems and potential for PV fibers in fabrics.  If architects, landscape architects, engineers and designers can understand what is involved manufacturing with PV fibers then they can begin address some of the problems encountered when using the fibers in applications such as tension structures made with fabrics as well as clothing and other fabric based objects that can benefit from the collection of energy from sunlight. 

The first phase of design includes novel approaches to solar gathering tension structure design in three ways; first designing for flexible uses or programming in a landscape; second designing a parametric, form active flexible structure to accommodate the manipulation of light, and third designing a fabric that manipulates light by absorption, reflection and transmission light. Contributions include a design system that accommodates several configurations using form active compressive components and designs for related textile cut patterns.  Contributions at the scale of the fabric include an energy model for the photo voltaic fiber.

A second phase of design involves manufacturing a bespoke textile with fiber optic strands to test the manufacturability of our textile design.

Project type: 
Research project

Principal Investigator (PI)
Felecia Davis
Assistant Professor, Stuckeman Center for Design Computing, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Jeffrey Brownson
Associate Professor, Energy & Mineral Engineering, Affiliate Faculty, Materials Science & Engineering

Emeritus Co PI
Tim Baird
Professor, Landscape Architecture, Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture 
Stephen Treado
Associate Professor, Architectural Engineering

Research assistants
Sadiqua Ansari, MLArch Student, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Pomi Aschenaki, BSci Architectural Engineering Student
Diva Avenoor, BSci Biotechnology, Eberly College of Science
Xiao Han, MS Architecture, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Niloofar Nikookar, MArch, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Vernelle Noel, PhD Candidate, Stuckeman Center for Design Computing, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Siddharth Swaminathan. MArchEng, College of Engineering

Project duration: 
August, 2016 to July, 2018
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