Carbon-fibre pavilion based on moth web

At the University of Stuttgart, researcher and students have used robots and drones to weave a carbon-fibre pavilion. The idea is based on the silk hammocks spun by moth larvae.

The design process started with looking into natural structures. The team studied how two species of leaf-miner moths spin silk hammocks that stretch between leaves. By repeating the pattern and structure of the web, they were able to create a bending active substructure combined with a wound fibre reinforcement. They could also add an alternating orientation fibres. To make the complex three dimensional geometry, they developed a multi-stage fibre-laying process.

The pavilion is 12 metres long and made from 180 kilometres of woven resin-impregnated glass- and carbon fibre. Due to the lack of working space of the industrial robotic arms, the team wanted to take on the challenge to create a method for making larger scales.

The aim was to develop a fibre-winding technique over a longer span, which reduces the required formwork to a minimum, while taking advantage of the structural performance of continuous filament. To do this, the team combined strong and precise stationary robots with long range drones.

In the specific experimental set up, two stationary industrial robotic arms with the strength and precision necessary for fibre winding work are placed at the extremities of the structure. While an autonomous, long range but less precise fibre transportation system is utilised to pass the fibre from one side to the other, in this case a custom built Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

References (including photos) and for more reading:
https://www.dezeen.com/2017/04/12/icd-itke-research-pavilion-university-stuttgart-germany-carbon-fibre-robots-drones/

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