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CurveTex, textile reinforcement, textile-concrete, facade, Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA), RWTH Aachen, Penn Textile Solutions, Stanecker Betonfertigteilwerk

Multiple Curved Textile-concrete Facade

As part of the CurveTex research project, the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University (Institut für Textiltechnik der RWTH Aachen) has realised in cooperation with industrial partners a double-curved textile-concrete facade. This new development combines the advantages of textile concrete with new three-dimensional shaping possibilities using elastically-adapted reinforcement textiles made of glass fibres. The variety of forms of concrete facades is thus supplemented by free, undulating or round structures.

Textile concrete is a composite material consisting of a concrete matrix and high-performance fibres such as carbon. Until now, however, textile concrete elements could only be produced as flat panels, flat sandwich structures or single-curved construction elements. The formability of standard textiles was limited due to the non-elastic textile lattice structure. These textiles were not suitable for the production of double-curved elements, as unwanted folds formed or the fibres had to be severed. The reinforcement could not absorb the forces occurring under load.

The newly-developed drapeable reinforcement textile consists of a hybrid thread based on an elastic silicone, wrapped in polyester fibres. The glass fibres, which perform the static functions, are integrated into this hybrid thread, so that formability and static load-bearing capacity are given at the same time. The scrim can be produced in widths of up to  6m, in various densities and with different carrier scrim thicknesses. In order to be able to absorb forces in both directions, two layers were laid on top of each other in different directions. The scrims were then resinified and set in concrete.

A demonstrator facade demonstrates the versatility and practicability of the system with twelve filigree, just 3 cm-thick facade elements made of textile concrete.

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