For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Computational Modeling of Knitted Textile Architectures

Knitted fabrics are hierarchically structured materials exhibiting a complex set of structure-property-behavior relations driven by yarn-level interactions. Compared to other materials such as fiber-reinforced composites or metals, knitting gives the designer much finer control over the manufactured structure, fitting the broader “materials-by-design” framework. While manufacturing capability is sufficiently advanced to allow digital morphological design and production of knit structures from a diverse array of input materials, a lack of predictive simulation capability hinders progress in certification and deployment of smart garment devices, which are envisioned as material platforms for applications such as actuation or medical sensing. A key objective of our current research is to develop robust data-driven simulation tools to study mechanical/multi-physics behavior of smart textiles. To this aim, we propose an integrated computational materials engineering (ICME) strategy linking multiscale mechanical testing, numerical simulation, computational mechanics and manufacturing. Specifically, hierarchal mechanical testing from the single fiber scale to yarn grid level pattern(s) in parallel with full-field strain mapping is being performed. The internal structure is imaged in two and three dimensions using microscopy and tomography methods. For simulations, accurate geometric representations of knit structures are accomplished through emulation of the manufacturing process and subsequent relaxation of the 3D structure. Computational mechanics methods are also being developed and used to investigate the role of structure and material properties in determining deformation behavior of knitted materials with a goal to provide quantitative feedback to manufacturing.


David Breen, PhD Geometric Biomedical Computer Group, Department of Computer Science
College of Computing & Informatics, Drexel University
Antonios Kontsos, PhD Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics, College of Engineering, Drexel University


Dion G. Garment device: challenges to fabrication of wearable technology. 2013. In: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Body Area Networks (BodyNets '13); 2013 September 30-October 2; Boston, MA. Brussels, Belgium: Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering. p 97-102.

  • Smart garments, also known as wearable technology are designed with textiles engineered to perform specific functions. Progress in intelligent yarns and fibers present viable opportunities to design garment devices embedded with technology. This paper discusses the importance of a multidisciplinary team to advance research on smart textiles, and the use of digital fabrication as a viable method of production. Using Shima Seiki CAD systems and machinery, virtual knit designs are developed with modeling software, then realized into actual products by means of computer driven knitting machines. Akin to 3D printing, computer aided knitting is a form of digital fabrication for prototypes but can also be utilized to produce final products and scale manufacturing.