Sponsored: Germany wants to show the world how to build with textiles

Published: 3 April 2019 - 6:30 a.m.

The applications of industrial textile are rapidly gaining popularity in the global construction market as builders seek light-weight and cost-efficient alternatives for products such as concrete and steel.

Textiles are already adopted by architecture specialists owing to features such as light penetrability, flexibility, and a limited weight-to-surface area ratio. Industrial textiles provide reliable tensility but, unlike steel, are light, making them easier to handle for projects of all sizes, be it vehicle roofs or football stadiums.

An upcoming conference seeks to raise awareness of industrial textiles for global construction projects. Buildtech, a part of the Techtextil trade fair, will be held on 14-17 May, 2019 in Frankfurt, with the aim of growing awareness about how textiles can support the development of membranes, and light-weight and solid structures, in addition to activities related to earthworks, hydraulic engineering, and roadworks.

It is not surprising that this construction innovation is taking shape in Germany, which is promoting innovation across all sectors. The country's Federal Ministry of Education and Research-backed construction research project, named Carbon Concrete Composite-Cluster C³, includes the study of textiles for construction.

The 246m-tall Thyssenkrupp Test Tower in Rottweil also features a polytetrafluoroethylene-woven outer skin that comprises a fibre glass mat, and is used as an example of how textiles can support construction projects.

Germany is also the home of the world’s first textile-supported double-curvature concrete façade. The product was manufactured using technology developed by Penn Textile Solutions and pre-fabricated concrete component manufacturer Stanecker Betonfertigteilwerk. Germany's RWTH Aachen Institute of Textile Technology was also involved with the project.

Textile that can be easily draped into required shapes makes up the core of the façade. The material is 3cm thick and weighs 80kg, which is a stark contrast against the projected 270kg that the core would weigh if it were built using cement and concrete.

The upcoming Techtextil exhibition will shed light on these benefits, and many others, that industrial textiles can offer to the construction industry, according to Michael Jänecke, director of brand management for Techtextil at events company Messe Frankfurt, explains.

“Representing one of the 12 major areas of application for technical textiles, Buildtech is amongst the most innovative new [events to watch],” Jänecke claimed.

“Industrial textiles enable us, for example, to build decorative, airy, lightweight structures. This is one of the reasons why the proportion of trade visitors from the building industry and architectural practices continues to grow.”

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