There is a lot to be said for looking very closely at materials. They often disclose fascinating secrets, such as this waterproof material, or leading to important advances, as with this recycling method.
In these ‘ultrafabrics’, a close look at the way fibres are combined into threads and then textiles has informed the design of these textiles. Developed by Marco Ferreri using so-called I-mesh technology by Sailmaker International, ultrafabrics are exceptionally high-tech and woven textiles that demand close investigation.
Using fibres from aerospace industry materials such as Kevlar, Zylon and Technora, the designer used a high-speed and very accurate weaving machine to produce new textiles for a range of uses.
Two basic methods were used. One way is to fuse and spin minerals (such as glass or carbon) together and the other is to extrude a range of polymers, in either case forming fibres. These are then combined to form larger, stronger fibres: up to 6,000 in the case of woven carbon.
Weaving the fibres together and combining them with a resin produces a fabric that is as thin as a plastic sheet, but far superior in mechanical properties. The fibres at the edges of the textiles are woven back into the main body, which avoids unravelling or fraying. This innovation adds extra quality to an already strong product.
This layering of fibres allows numerous patterns to be explored too. These hot-pasted weaves mean that the ultrafabric is not only exceptionally strong, but can be very pretty too.
This is technology transfer in action. A number of pavilions have used the ultrafabric and the results look stunning. We look forward to more.
Images and information via Marco Ferreri for Sailmaker International.