1. Universtiy of Maribor
2016 Spring Semester
Instructor: Zoran Stjepanovič
A research about technical textiles that
used in civil engineering applications
Tecnical textiles used in construction of buildings are called “buildtech”. Textile
materials used in buildings for so many years. Utilization of these materials is
increased with the development of synthetic fibers. Today, these materials are widely
used in airports, stadiums, sports halls, exhibition halls and shows centers, military
and industrial warehouses and also at a lot of different areas like these places.
Technical textiles are one of the faster-growing sectors of the global textile industry.
High-added-value textile structures are replaced with traditional technologies. The
efficient use of energy, materials and resources continues to be the driver for the
industrial, construction and building sectors. Civil engineering applications have a
huge effect on improving of people’s life such as planning, building and
infrastructure. Technical textiles and composites play a big role in the construction
sector, providing filters, reinforcement materials, webbings etc. These are the areas
with high growth potential particularly in where the construction industries are
carefree. So textiles, polymers and composite materials using in civil engineering
applications began to be common more and more. Because of the plenty of
advantages, textile materials are the one of the most important part at constructions.
Some of those advantages are lightweight, strength and resilience, and resistant to
chemicals, sunlight, pollutants. Technical textiles using as both permanent and
temporary applications. More visible area of tents, marquees and awnings which they
also can be built with aesthetic concerns. Lately those kind of textile applications
called “textile architecture”.
Using areas and advantages
Because of the so many good properties, technical textiles can be used at
these areas; concrete reinforcement, façade foundation systems, interior
constructions, insulations, proofing materials, visual protection, protection against the
sun, building safety, textile membranes for roof construction, hoardings and
signages, scaffolding nets, awnings and canopies, tarpaulins, architectural
membranes and roofing materials.
Buildtech products have to be durable and especially resilient. Important
quality criteria are high UV resistance, sturdiness, resistance to wind and weather
3. and to be light-weight. In addition to these properties, textile materials also with fair
price. However, to meet the achievements, textiles used in civil engineering
applications also have to have the properties such as; air conditioning, noise
prevention, tear-resistant, water and vapor impermeable, anti-slip ensures safe
installation, non-allergenic, bacteria resistant and rot-proof.
The average weight of the textile material used in a standard building; is abut
1/30 of the weight of brick, steel or concrete. Thus, it needs less reinforcement so the
cost is reduced. Also, manufacturing of textile materials is more easy and taking less
time than traditional construction materials.
Fibers used in buildtech
Technical textiles generally made from synthetic fibres. 22% of the fibre
consumption in the world is for manufacturing of technical textiles[Table1]. The most
common ones are; high-tenacity polyester, glass fiber and nylon. Because of the
tensile properties, strength and cost polyester is used more than the others. Also
nylon fiber used for membranes sometimes but this fiber is more expensive than
polyester(more durable at the same time).
Glass is an incombustible textile fibre and has high tenacity too. It has been
used for fire-retardant applications and also is commonly used in insulation of
buildings. Because of its properties and low cost, glass fibre is widely used in the
manufacture of reinforcement for composites. Glass fibers fairly resistant for tensions
and they also and reflect the some of sun's rays and this provides to the keep
structures cold. Glass fibre applications can be between 2 layers of concrete(as an
insulation material)[Figure 2]. Also fabrics from glass fiber generally manufactured as
nonwovens. [Figure 3]
Polyethylene and polypropylene have a density less than that of water, which
allows them to float as ropes, nets and other similar applications. The availability, low
cost and good resistance to acid and alkaline environments of polypropylene has
greatly influenced its growth and substantial use in geotextile applications.
Hemp fibres with a higher durability than traditional cellulose fibres are more
suited for this kind of application, and therefore a lot of research was performed
4. about the use of hemp fibres as reinforcement for building materials based on
Some applications of other fibers are, HDPE(high density polyetylen) used for
when really high resistance wanted. To achieve heat and sound isolation, hollow
fibers are starting to be using.
“Composites generally have a bright future in building and construction.
Current applications of glass reinforced materials, include wall panels, septic tanks
and sanitary fittings. To prevent cracking of concrete, plaster and other building
materials glass, polypropylene and acrylic fibres and textiles are using. More
innovative use is now being made of glass in bridge construction. In Japan, carbon
fibre is attracting a lot of interest as a possible reinforcement for earthquake-prone
buildings although price is still an important constraint upon its more widespread
use.”(Handbook of Technical Textiles)
Technologies used in buildtech
Textiles in this field; they must be resistant to degradation.to deformation and
degradation under load, wind, water, sunlight or acid rain to in the case of a long time
exposure of these factors. Also they have to be reflect or pass the sunlight according
to using area. The vast majority of these properties are obtained by coating the base
fabric used with a variety of chemicals. Generally plain constructions are used at
woven fabrics because of their low hairiness, warp knit fabrics because they are
strong, nonwoven fabrics which are produced needling method preferred because
they are cheap and light-weight.
Coated fabrics for waterproofing (and also to protect base fabric against
sunlight and climate change), and coated fabrics for fire resistant which they are
mostly polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) or silicone coated
Another technique for buildtechs is laminated fabrics. Laminated fabrics are
preferred formed by vinyl film coating on woven or knitted polyester and nylon fabrics.
They are cheaper than coated fabric, but the tensile strength, flexural and abrasion
Unlike conventional construction methods, there are different innovative
requires in new buildings. To achieve these properties, both new fiber and fabric
5. types are discovering. Such as, fiberglass used 3 axial fabric or using friction hybrid
yarn knitted spacer fabrics.
Warp knitted fabrics are used as buildtech especially when strength is
important. Using of fibers such as glass fibers, Kevlar fibers, strength is further
increased. Also with using 3 axial knitting machines and with glass fiber, some fabrics
are produced and they provide heat insulation. [Figure 4]
Also in building sector, with aesthetic and strength concerns, there are starting
to produce spacer fabrics for heat and sound insulations. To reinforce to concrete,
also there are some sandwich structures which spacer fabrics and concrete are
combined together. [Figure 5]
Examples for buildtechs
Most people have at one time or another spent the night in a tent and have
benefited from the protection provided by its fabric, while at the same time enjoying
the sensation of being separated from nature by nothing more than a thin shell.
Textile forms of habitation have a long history going back to palaeolithic times and
represent an archetypal form of building which has endured to the present day.
Textiles are light, easy to convert or dismantle, and they provide protection against
wind, ultra-violet rays and rain.
“More fabrics are being used in buildings to provide solar protection. By adding
textiles in architecture of a building not only can the UV rays be kept at bay but also a
shade can be provided. Energy efficiency has also increased the use of textiles.
From production and fabrication to the installation of membrane systems a lot of
energy can be saved than using conventional concrete structures. Textile also
provide a way of letting natural light being harnessed in a building by using
translucent materials, thereby saving electricity and being environment friendly.”
Today, the textiles used in stadiums, sport complexes and fairs etc. generally
are membranes they they are resistant to light and water and at the same time they
6. Modern architecture has rediscovered the principle of the tent as an
architectural form and taken its development further – not just for temporary
structures but also for permanent buildings. Advanced and durable fabrics enable
large areas to be spanned, which has turned their use into a highly specialised sector
within the construction industry.
When the textile elements are no longer required they can be folded up and
stored compactly in a cupboard. In addition the fabrics are machine washable.
In general, membranes used in building and construction field, are formed at
both sides of the composite coated textile surface.[Figure 6] Two basic units forming
the membrane; It is ground fabric and coatings. Ground fabric usually used in
synthetic fibers and ground fabric acts as a carrier layer which provides structure and
strength necessary to lift the entire load on the structure.
The firm of Planex calculated the dimensions of each sail by modelling based
on highly accurate measurements, and all the seams were welded using high-
frequency welding equipment.
The Soltis material is produced using precontraint technology. During manufacturing
both the warp and the weft yarn is pre-stressed and then coated. This guarantees a
high level of surface stability and is a precondition for ensuring adequate wind
resistance, which can only be guaranteed if the sails neither expand nor contract in
response to changes in temperature. Soltis is UV-resistant and is available not just
7. with perforations of varying sizes and the corresponding variable transmittance but
also in a range of different colours.
‘Tubaloon' is the name given by the architects Snohetta to the 20 m x 40 m
pneumatic membrane sculpture which was created for the Kongsberg jazz festival in
Another membrance application in Hamburg in one tennis court stadium.
8. Membrane application in Veltins Arena.
Also, the buildings using for concerts, theaters or artistic activities, to
transferring acoustic to the audience as correct and desirable is really important to to
achieve the objective of such activities. That can been able to the catch optimum
volume for a concert or theater by using acoustic textiles in walls, scene and ceilings
at modern acoustic buildings. This make comfortable environment for audiences.
Nonwoven fabrics formed by needling technique is particularly preferred for the
purpose of acoustically. Biologically degradable fibers have been used especially as
fibers for this aim.
“Schoeller Textil from Switzerland has a new membrane technology called C-
change which adapts its moisture vapour permeability in response to different
weather conditions. The water and windproof Bionic Climate Membrane opens its
structure at high temperatures, or during periods of strenuous activity, so that excess
9. heat can escape. During cold weather or periods of inactivity, the structure of the
membrane closes, retaining body heat.”
Some special examples for membrane applications;
*Polyester base fabric is laminated with special film.
Most common materials for membranes are;
Vinyl laminated with PES
Vinyl coated with PES
10. Acrylic coated with PES
Solution- Dyed acrylic
Whether it's the innovative use of industrial netting as in the last example or
the use of special architectural membranes – the potential for the use of fabrics in
construction design is far from exhausted because many high-tech textiles used in
industry are not yet available for building applications.
At the same time building with textiles and above all the use of membranes are
becoming increasingly important in architecture and are being applied to an ever-
greater extent in major projects
11. Producing principle of coated/laminated fabrics.
The aim of these textiles is developing sensor embedded textiles for
geotechnical and masonry applications in the field of civil engineering. In building
construction, textiles provide an efficient reinforcement strategy. This is especially
common in older masonry structures that are vulnerable to natural hazards.
18. The future development of the buildtech markets and products will largely be
centered upon new materials, new processes and new applications operating on a
global basis for the development of economies of scale in production and product
Presently, Japan, Germany, the US, the UK, France, Turkey China and India
are the key producers of technical textiles. These countries except China and Turkey
have practically abandoned producing conventional textile products.
In machinery development, the trend will be towards automation in all stages
including computer colour match prediction and composition of designs in printing.
The evolution will be towards equipments using less and less of water like continuous
dyeing, HT steaming and thermosoling are expected to make rapid strides with
increasing use of infra-red in many applications.
Buildings and construction materials’ studies alternative to existing as an
conventional building technical textiles has gained importance in recent years. In fact,
in the future there are some opinions of the entire structure buildings will be entirely
the from textile materials. As an example of this, in the United States, a skyscraper
designed name of "Carbon Tower".
So, constuructions and civil engineering applications can not be without
technical textiles materials. In the future, using of textile materials in structures will be
more and more common.
Tables and figures
Textiles for Industrial Applications (2008, R. Senthil Kumar)
Handbook of Technical Textiles (2000, The Textile Institute)
CONSTRUCTION TEXTILES AND NOVEL APPLICATIONS (2014, The Journal of
Textiles and Engineer, Nilüfer Yıldız VARAN, Güngör DURUR)
Textiles, Polymers and Composites for Buildings(2010, The Textile Institue)