The Potential of Advanced Textiles For Fabric Formwork

Julie Brennan, Remo Pedreschi, Peter Walker, Martin Ansell

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    This journal paper discusses the development of fabric formwork from a textile perspective, where the adoption of more sophisticated textile construction proposes the manufacture of new types of flexible and embedded fabric formworks for potential use in the construction Industry. These include fibre systems for reinforcing building components, containment structures arranged with open cavities to accept in-fill and layered geo-textiles. In-filled with concrete, aggregate or earth, tailored performance characteristics built-into the textile design can enhance the overall properties of formwork elements. The developments provide key pointers for the progression of the discipline and automation of the process.The journal paper describes the collaborative outcomes of an International research mission to Canada in 2012. LimesNet – Low Impact Materials and Innovative Engineering Solutions for the Built Environment is an EPSRC funded International Network led by the University of Bath aimed at developing novel and interdisciplinary research activities in the future development of low carbon construction materials and technologies in ground and structural engineering. Soden led a multidiscipline team of experts to engage with International leaders in the Fabric Formwork field with the objective of developing advanced woven textiles for use as new structural formwork containment and reinforcement systems to improve construction efficiency, structural performance and durability. A driving force was to minimise the use of supporting timber frameworks and to provide innovative and sustainable solutions for the built environment in the UK as well as resettlement dwellings for displaced persons in areas of natural disaster. The mission team included Prof Pete Walker, BRE Trust Chair in Innovative Construction Materials at University of Bath, Prof Remo Pedreschi, Professor of Architectural Technology at University of Edinburgh and Dr Martin Ansell, Reader in Materials at University of Bath. In engagement with Prof Mark West, a global expert in the formwork field, the team visited the CAST Centre at University of Manitoba, Canada, the Composites Innovation Centre, Winnipeg Canada, The Alternative (sustainable building) Village, Manitoba and the Geotechnical Engineering Centre at Queens University Kingston, Canada. The mission and subsequent outputs were endorsed by EPSRC and the Limes-net board. Further dissemination took place in June and July 2012 through 3 day interactive research workshops at Bath Innovation Centre, the Formwork Workshop at Edinburgh University, The Limes Net Conference (Bath, 200+ delegates), and through published case study.The work also generated secondary and tertiary impact through substantial membership of the Limes Net Network, via the website (, the limes Net Wiki and in electronic form.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)229-237
    JournalProceedings of the ICE - Construction Materials
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013


    • Concrete technology and manufacture
    • geotextiles
    • geomembranes and geogrids


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