This thesis is an investigation into woven textile structures and weave construction methodologies. The main question at the heart of this research is what are smart textiles and what role/s can weaving play in the creation of such textiles in the future? A critical review of the literature led to a grammatical investigation and interpretation of the term smart textiles, and as a result a key differentiator between superficial and deep responsivity in textiles is made: the latter is henceforth used to describe the uniqueness of smart textiles (chapter 3). The thesis proceeds to explore the fundamental engineering of textiles as material systems, and by doing so, provide clues as to how fabrics could themselves be considered smart. Through this exploration, an original ‘textile anatomy’ mapping tool is presented with the aim to enhance and deepen current understanding of textiles and represent them as material systems instead (chapters 4 and 5). The hybrid research methodology that governed this investigation is unique. It relies on the creative tools of Design while also inherently applies the investigative methods of Science, Technology and Engineering (chapter 2). Weaving is explored through processes of making as an approach to develop smart textiles following an extensive historical review revealing that although methods of weave production have much evolved, the weave structures themselves have not changed at all for thousands of years (chapter 5). A series of experimental case studies are presented, which therefore seek to explore and challenge current limitations of weaving for the creation of a new generation of material systems (chapter 6). As part of this practical work the alternative fabrication technology of additive manufacturing was considered, but its role as substitute manufacturing technique for textiles was accordingly rejected. This research finds that since weaving has become solely dependent on its machines, the structures produced through these processes of manufacturing are governed by such same specifications and limitations. As a result, in order to step away from current constraints, new assembly methodologies need to be revised. This is particularly applicable within the context of future (smart) material systems, and micro and nano fabrication techniques (chapters 7, 8 and 9).
|Publication status||In preparation - Apr 2016|