Providing high durability, excellent strength, and innovative joining capabilities, advanced composites based on 3D woven fabrics continue to evolve as technology charges forward. Used in a wide range of industries, including off-shore structures, ballistics, and aerospace, these custom 3D woven materials are valuable in many types of applications.
In recent years, 3D woven fabric based composites have seen major advances and growth. Easier to lay-up and infuse, these materials also carry no risk of delamination—a common struggle with 2D woven composites. As a leading producer of high-performance advanced materials, Tex Tech is proud to offer a range of 3D weaving capabilities.
Our customized weaving systems and looms specialize in producing 3D woven fabrics with un-crimped fibers to reduce potential weaknesses in the material. These straight fibers add strength by eliminating the stress that often concentrates in the bends of crimped fibers. In addition, the integration of through thickness reinforcement yarns — also known as Z fibers or yarns — bind together layers of yarns and provide increased material toughness.
3D Woven Fabric Technology
Using specialized weaving systems and looms, the in-plane yarns in Tex Tech’s 3D woven fabrics are produced with un-crimped fibers to eliminate potential weaknesses in the material. The straight fibers in our woven fabrics lack stress-concentrating undulations, resulting in higher-strength products, while Z-fibers provide enhanced toughness and resistance to delamination.
Composites based on 3D woven fabrics also perform well in replacing traditional materials, such as steel, without sacrificing durability or strength. Their high strength-to-weight ratio makes them ideal for industries such as transportation, heavy industrial, and marine.
3D woven fabrics can also be produced with specialty fibers and materials for advanced composite applications, such as fireproofing and ballistics protection. Tex Tech Industries works with many of these materials, including:
• E-glass and S-glass
• Aramids such as Kevlar and Twaron
• PAN carbon fibers and pitch carbon fibers
• Stainless steel yarns
• Alumina, silica, PE, UHMWPE, and other specialty fibers
Common Uses and Applications
For applications requiring superior strength, resilience, and durability, many engineers have chosen to explore replacing traditional materials with advanced composites based on 3D woven fabrics. They serve as tough, lightweight alternatives to metals while also allowing for numerous customization options. Ideal for a wide range of applications, these unique fabrics also offer great versatility.
Thanks to their toughness and durability, Tex Tech’s 3D woven fabrics are used as composite bases in numerous industries and applications. In fact, these fabrics have become go-to materials for many industry-leading companies, including those in the transportation, heavy industrial, ballistics, aerospace, and marine sectors.
Regardless of your specific industry or application, our in-house engineering design team will work closely with you throughout the entire production process—identifying problems, building prototypes, designing parts, and testing 3D components.
We can even incorporate other specialized fibers and materials – such as carbon, glass, ceramic, metal, and polymer fibers – to imbue products with advanced features, such fireproofing and ballistics protection. With so many customization options available, our fabrics have been used as composites for many diverse products, from marine hulls and coal scrubbers to downhole fracking components.
For example, when a producer of high-performance powerboats came to us looking to increase their boats’ speed and throughput, we worked with them to develop a lightweight, composite material tailored to these specific needs. Designed using 3D fabric reinforcements and resin infusion, this composite allowed for the creation of new, cored hulls. The integration of this woven fabric allowed the powerboat company to significantly lower production costs while reducing emissions by 80%—eventually improving productivity by 100%, decreasing the boats’ weight by 20%, and increasing the hulls’ strength and stiffness by 50%.
The Advantages of Working with 3D Woven Fabrics
No matter the specific application, however, 3D woven fabrics offer numerous benefits. Thicker than other woven fabrics, 3D weaving provides extra strength and stiffness. This reinforcement helps prevent delamination, which occurs when unreinforced polymers between composite layers crack and separate the layers, ultimately weakening the composite material.
This is a common problem with composites based on laminates of 2D woven materials, as they lack reinforcement fibers. The thickness of these fibers also allows the material to withstand heavier impacts, ensuring greater resilience and durability.
3D woven materials are also less labor-intensive to manufacture, allowing companies to shorten overall production time, which can translate to significant cost savings for customers. For example, in the marine hull example above, assessments showed that 3D fabrics helped reduce overall manufacturing costs by 25%.
3D Weaving and Prototyping at Tex Tech Industries
As a leading provider of high-performance materials, Tex Tech Industries is proud to offer 3D weaving. Our through-thickness reinforcement allows for the production of extremely tough but lightweight products.
Our in-house team of design engineers also specializes in 3D weaving prototyping and short-run services for client testing. With over 80 published papers on this technology and experience gleaned from dozens of projects, there is a solid bank of knowledge to draw from.
Want to Learn More About 3D Woven Components?
Tex Tech is proud to lead the industry in engineered textiles—particularly in the design, development, and manufacture of 3D woven components. To learn more about how our 3D weaving capabilities can benefit your company, request a quote today or download our free “3D Weaving Components” eBook.