Fraunhofer ITWM: Software for simulating tech...
Fraunhofer ITWM

Software for simulating technical textiles realistically

Generation of the structure of the spacer fabric (Source: Fraunhofer ITWM)
Generation of the structure of the spacer fabric (Source: Fraunhofer ITWM)

The modular software program TexMath of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM, Kaiserslautern/Germany, enables both the simulation of mechanical material properties and the optimization of textile products. The demand for techniques that can realize accelerated development and optimized design of technical textiles while reducing experiments is especially high in areas such as the sports, medical, and clothing industries. The »Technical Textiles« team of the »Flow and Material Simulation« department at Fraunhofer ITWM is developing simulation methods that allow efficient prediction of textile behavior under stretching, shear, bending, torsion, or compression. It is also possible to simulate wrinkling under stretching as well as shrinkage of yarns or critical shear angles throughout the manufacturing process.

The TexMath simulation software they developed ensures that process chains in production can be adapted to new materials in advance. Complicated patterns and layers can be mapped with the help of the software and a direct connection to the textile machine can be made. Desired woven, knitted and warp-knitted products are accurately simulated with the software and their material properties computed. In addition to evaluating a particular textile design using simulation, the tools also provide optimization of performance characteristics for different design variations. The goal of the software is to realize the design according to product properties and target criteria.

Simulation of knitting (pulling out of the machine) and putting on a mask. Colors provide information about tension. Influence of face shape and knitting tension on concern is demonstrated (Source: Fraunhofer ITWM)

One area of application for the TexMath software is the optimization of compression textiles for the medical sector or for sports. For optimal effectiveness, the fit of the material is particularly important. For example, the knitting process can be simulated with the software to create a bandage with predefined compression properties and thus design the optimal knitted fabric. This virtual bandage is then loaded in another simulation and put on a virtual arm or leg. Thanks to TexMath, the calculated pressure profile makes it possible to evaluate the compression properties of the bandage in advance and also to directly control the knitting machine according to the optimal design.

TexMath can also be used to design spacer textiles, such as those used for the upper material of sports shoes and for the production of high-performance textiles, and to optimize them in advance in terms of structure and fluid mechanics.

A demo version of the software program will soon be available. The newly developed input interface is particularly user-friendly. The textile class (i.e. knitted, warp-knitted, woven and spacer fabrics) can be easily set. The new graphic interface allows simple and fast configuration.

TexMath consists of the components MeshUp, FibreFEM and FIFST, each has its specific field of application. In addition, the tools have interfaces to each other as well as connections to the software GeoDict of the Fraunhofer spin-off Math2Market GmbH, Kaiserslautern/Germany, which can be used, for example, to perform fluid mechanical simulations on the textiles.

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