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Responsive Architectural Fiber Composites

Lightweight architecture made of fiber composites where bearing is done through the surface of material itself can not only reduce the weight of buildings  but  also  offers opportunities for spatial innovation in architecture. Simply working with the textile patterning itself can change what that composite can do and respond to. In addition, building with soft materials opens up the possibility of incorporating through weaving, knitting or felting sensors and other responsive materials into the textile surface itself or using the natural transformative properties of fibers to communicate change to people.

Participants in this course will develop techniques for working with textiles for building that can be used in compression. The course will focus on ways to carry loading primarily through the skin,  tissue  or surface  of  the  object. The course will be an opportunity to develop and experiment with fiber composites used for furnishings such as a small table or other object. This experiment is done with an eye towards developing larger lightweight responsive building components such as building skins or monocoque shelters.

Participants will leave the course with skills to lay up fabric textile composite objects including woven carbon fiber, fiber glass, 3D-knitted spacer fabrics, aramid, cotton canvas, felt, and wood. They will leave with the skills to CNC mill a mold for laying up a fabric composite. Participants will be exposed to different ways in which to develop a fiber based composites, including those composites made with interior cores and fiber winding. Participants will be exposed to different molding possibilities including transformable and reusable molds and be exposed to structural performance software to pre-test the designs of their fiber composite furnishing. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn about and use the eco-friendly hardeners or matrices that have been recently developed.

PSU code: 
ARCH 497
Course duration: 
August, 2017
Course coordinator: 
Related people: 
Research Unit Connections: 
Stuckeman Center for Design Computing