Braiding and Braided Fabrics: Features, Types, Manufacturing Process and Uses

Last Updated on 18/06/2021

Braiding and Braided Fabrics: Features, Types, Manufacturing Process and Uses

Shareful Islam Palash
Lecturer, Institute of Textile Engineering & Information Technology
Email: palash313@gmail.com

 

Features of Braiding and Braided Fabrics:
Braiding is a simple form of narrow fabric construction. A braid is a rope like thing, which is made by interweaving three or more stands, strips, or lengths in a diagonally overlapping pattern. Braiding is one of the major fabrication methods for composite reinforcement structures. It is probably the simplest way of fabric formation. Braiding is an ancient art with the origins in the braiding of hair, the tying of knots, the braiding of ropes and cables. They have good elongation characteristics and are very pliable, curving around edges nicely. Braided products have been traditionally used as decorative trimmings and functional elastic components in apparel goods. Now, they are used for various industrial applications. Braided fabrics are also used in demanding technical applications, such as for shielding wires from electromagnetic interference or for absorbing very high impactful energy in the form of ropes, fishing lines, parachute cords, etc., and also for satisfying fairly modest and less demanding functions in household goods in the form of draw threads for curtains, wash lines, or even the ubiquitous shoelace.

braiding
Fig: Braiding

Braiding is distinct from the other two classical textile processes, i.e, weaving and knitting, in (1) the textile industry methods used to process yarns into a fabric and (2) in the characteristic fiber architectures resulting from those methods. The principal difference between the braided and other fabric-processing methods is that woven fabrics are formed by orthogonal interlacing of yarns and knitted fabrics are formed by interlooping yarns, whereas conventional braiding forms nonorthogonal, multidirectional (typically, two- or three-directional) fabrics without any loops.

The main characteristics of braid is-

  1. Yarns are interlaced both diagonally and lengthwise.
  2. Braid is stretchy and easily shaped.
  3. Flat or three-dimensional braid is used for trim and industrial products.

Types Braided Fabrics:
Conventional braiding, which can be categorized into “one-dimensional” (1D) and “two-dimensional” (2D) from a purely geometric point of view, is defined as a textile process of intertwining at least three parallel strands (or yarns) of fiber to fabricate continuous, seamless textile structure with nonorthogonal fiber orientation. Commonly, a shoe lace, rope, or cable are viewed as 1D braids, whereas a thin flat sheet of fabric or thin-walled tube are viewed as 2D braids.

braided fabric bracelet
Fig: Braided fabric bracelet

Now generally, braiding can be classified as two (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) braiding. Two-dimensional (2D) braid structure can be circular/round/tubular or flat braid. Three-dimensional (3D) braiding is relatively new and was developed mainly for composite structures. Three-dimensional (3D) braided preforms provide unique structural features and performance characteristics to composites. Among those are: full delamination suppression, improved damage tolerance, impact resistance, fatigue life, exceptional torsional resistance, excellent bolt bearing strength, superior skin-stiffener pull-off strength, etc. So, braids are divided into two types, considered as two dimensional.

  1. Circular/round braids, tubular in form, which may be hollow or have a center core of some material.
  2. Flat braids, in the form of strips or narrow flat tapes.

Types of Braided Structures
Braided textile structures are manufactured with mutual intertwining of yarns in a tubular form. There are three typical braid structures: diamond, regular, and hercules. Diamond structure is obtained when the yarns cross alternatively over and under the yarns of opposite direction. The repeat notation is 1/1. Regarding this way of notation, the regular braid structure has notation 2/2 and hercules 3/3. The braids are mostly produced in a regular structure. Generally braids are produced in a tubular form of biaxial yarn direction.

Materials Used:
Braiding are produced from any of the textile fibers (cotton, jute, nylon, glass fiber, rubber etc.), as well as from metal threads, tinsel, straw, wire or leather.

Manufacturing Principle:
The traditional circular braiding machine contains a series of bobbins of yarn mounted on a moving track at the bottom of the machine. The braid is produced as the bobbins move in and out around the base of the machine, much as Maypole dancer do. Interweaving yarns by braiding produces a flexible fabric; the fabric can be stretched in one direction, but it contracts in the other. Using an even number of yarns arranged around a circle allows production of tubular braids or ropes.

Principal construction of maypole braiding machine
Fig: Principal construction of maypole braiding machine

End Uses / Applications of Braided Fabrics:
Braided fabrics braiding is more significant for industrial fabrics than consumer textiles. Braiding is one of the major fabrication methods for composite reinforcement structures, with increasing application of electrical wires and cables, harnesses, hopes, industrial belts and surgical sutures. This principle of fabric construction is used for making shaped articles, such as straw hats and small rugs; narrow fabrics, such as ribbons and braids for millinery and accessory dress materials; cords and tapes, such as fish lines, show laces, wicks, parachute cords and structural components for other industrial products.

braided rug
Fig: Braided rug

Braided composites, once used for such applications as drive shafts, propeller blades, and sporting equipment, are becoming popular again in recent years partly due to the development of large, computer-controlled 2-D and 3-D braiders and partly due to the experience gained in using textile composites in the aerospace and automotive industries. Braiding has the potential to produce complex near-net shapes with fiber continuity at the edges and around holes and branches. However, unlike other quasi-laminar composites, the unit cell geometry of a braided composite is controlled by both the machine parameters and the component geometry.

Conclusion:
Thus braiding fabric forming mechanisms of braiding machine, it also forms by crochet knitting machine, and needle looms. We hope in future, we can invent many new and modern braiding processes and also formed braid fabric three-dimensional braid structure process. Although braiding as a concept is intrinsically simpler than weaving or knitting processes and is also much less demanding on the quality of feedstock, inherent limitations outlined in the foregoing as well as a lack of understanding about the mechanics of the braiding zone has restricted its domain to a narrow range of low-width, relatively low-quality products manufactured on low-productive systems.

References:

  1. Advances in Braiding Technology: Specialized Techniques and Applications Edited by Yordan Kyosev
  2. Principles of Fabric Formation By Prabir Kumar Banerjee
  3. Textiles for Industrial Applications by R. Senthil Kumar
  4. Braiding Technology for Textiles By Y. Kyosev

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