Research Topic: Investigating the design of 3D woven materials for the circular economy
Sophie is a PhD candidate within the 3D3 programme researching the latest 3D manufacturing technology to create aesthetic, functional and sustainable woven materials for the 21st century. She aims to identify the historical developments of the weaving loom and understand those aspects of standardisation that contribute to the 2D nature of weave. Evaluate methods of integrating traditional weaving with 3D technology. Combine craft with digital to provide new visual, tactile and structural properties. Identify characteristics required of new materials that may benefit from the integration of 2D technology with the latest 3D technology. And develop new techniques for the manufacture of new smart materials with the circular economy in mind.
There is currently an absence of 3D printing technology in weave design. We have seen a move towards the 3D printing of textiles, but this focuses on the development of knitted structures and less on woven ones (CITA’s Hybrid Tower). A weave structure is an interlacing of yarns that cross one another at right angles. As a weaver, Sophie understands the potential weave structures have to influence the nature of fabrics. Lack of consideration of the circular economy in textile design is apparent. There are many projects that focus on the re-use and recycling of textiles, but few that are considering the future of textiles with a cyclical life cycle.
Sophie’s research could be a significant step forward in the field of 3D printing, smart textiles and textile manufacturing. To develop a smart textile that could potentially be printed at home by anyone, using sustainable materials could revolutionise and democratise the textile industry. She envisages a broad range of uses for this smart textile, from aesthetic applications in fashion and interior architecture, to affect absorbing aspects in protective garments and lightweight components in the aerospace and vehicle industries. If it is concluded that 3D printing proves more sustainable than traditional textile production, it could disrupt the current textile supply chain. If the converse becomes apparent, that will help force the development of more sustainable products and practises.