TETHOK – Textile Tectonics for Wood Construction

From wood to tex­tile.

From wood to tex­tile. The great flex­i­bil­i­ty of wil­low wood makes it pos­si­ble to turn solid wood in­to a cont­in­u­ous fiber, which can then be me­chan­i­cal­ly pro­cessed like yarn to pro­duce a wide va­ri­e­ty of tex­tile fab­rics. Wil­low wood is very light and has an ex­cep­tio­n­al­ly good ra­tio of strength to flex­i­bil­i­ty and weight. Be­cause the na­t­u­ral struc­ture of the wood is not dis­solved and spun in­to a new thread, as with re­gen­er­at­ed fibers, its qual­i­ties are not de­stroyed, but rather trans­ferred to the tex­tile via the solid-wood fiber.

Tex­tiles have many ad­van­tages: ex­cel­lent suit­a­bil­i­ty for light con­struc­tion, ver­satil­i­ty of form and func­tion, refined and test­ed man­u­fac­tur­ing and pro­cess­ing tech­nolo­gies, and a char­ac­teris­tic, ev­er-chang­ing, dee­p­ly fa­miliar aes­thet­ic of par­al­lel and cross­ing threads.

Conse­quent­ly, the tex­tile prin­ci­ple has gained promi­nence as a way of form­ing struc­tu­ral ma­te­rials and com­po­nents. In re­cent years, there has been grow­ing de­mand for tech­ni­cal tex­tiles that can be used in the fab­ri­ca­tion of tech­no­log­i­cal­ly and aes­thet­i­cal­ly ad­vanced struc­tu­ral el­e­ments for ar­chi­tec­ture, con­struc­tion, prod­uct de­sign, and ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ing. Cont­in­u­ous-fiber tex­tiles are of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est since they can be used to pro­duce ex­treme­ly strong, func­tio­n­al, and at­trac­tive tex­tile struc­tures.

The fab­ri­ca­tion of such tex­tiles re­quires cont­in­u­ous fibers – that is, very long pie­ces that are ex­treme­ly small in di­am­e­ter and high­ly flex­i­ble. The ma­te­rials most com­mon­ly used for cont­in­u­ous fibers are plas­tic, glass, and car­bon fiber, as well as na­t­u­ral fibers such as flax and sisal.

Wood is one of hu­mani­ty’s old­est con­struc­tion ma­te­rials, with enor­mous tech­no­log­i­cal, aes­thet­ic, and eco­log­i­cal po­ten­tial, and yet to our knowl­edge, a spool-wound wood-based fiber suit­able for use in a loom, braider, or other tex­tile-man­u­fac­tur­ing ma­chine does not yet ex­ist. In the nine­teenth and ear­ly twen­ti­eth cen­turies, ear­ly ar­ti­sa­nal at­tempts were made in the field of wood-weav­ing us­ing short wood fibers and drawn wood (Pur­fürst 1880; Klauseg­ger et al. 2016), and wil­low with­es are known to have been used in mak­ing wo­ven bas­kets and fascines for re­in­forc­ing em­bank­ments (Verdet-Fierz 2004). But of course, time is mon­ey, and to­day, pro­duc­tion must be rapid. In the 1980s, the Forestry In­sti­tute of the East Ger­man Acade­my of Agro­nom­ic Sci­ences in Eber­swalde at­tempt­ed to pro­duce cont­in­u­ous fibers from wil­low for use in looms (Gut­wass­er 1990), but Ger­man re­u­ni­fi­ca­tion put an end to those ef­forts. How­ev­er, they pre­sent a fas­ci­nat­ing op­por­tu­ni­ty to “take up the thread” once more.

The pro­ject TETHOK – Tex­tile Tec­ton­ics for Wood Con­struc­tion has been de­vel­op­ing a wood-based cont­in­u­ous fiber (solid-wood mono­fil­a­ment) for ar­chi­tec­ture and con­struc­tion, and de­sign­ing tex­tile struc­tu­ral el­e­ments to be made from it. We are in­vesti­gat­ing the pro­cess­es of de­sign­ing, build­ing, and man­u­fac­tur­ing with tex­tiles made from solid-wood mono­fil­a­ment. This re­quires spe­cial­ized knowl­edge from vari­ous dis­ci­p­lines, which must work ex­treme­ly close­ly with one another. Through this in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary syn­th­e­sis of ar­chi­tec­ture, struc­tu­ral en­gi­neer­ing, ma­te­rials sci­ence, and me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing, we are ad­dress­ing the many chal­leng­ing ques­tions of de­sign, con­struc­tion, ma­te­rial prop­er­ties, si­m­u­la­tion, and pro­duc­tion raised by the pro­ject. Our aim is to com­bine the ad­van­tages of tex­tiles with those of wood by adapt­ing the ver­satil­i­ty of tex­tiles and their char­ac­teris­tic con­struc­tion meth­ods to woo­d­en struc­tures. We are join­ing knowl­edge from the mil­len­nia-old craft of weav­ing – which was de­clared an in­tan­gi­ble cul­tu­r­al her­i­tage by the Ger­man Com­mis­sion for UN­ES­CO in 2016 – with to­day’s dig­i­tal and in­dus­trial tech­nolo­gies and man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cess­es.

Vis­it us at LI­G­­NA – Ma­k­ing mo­re out of Wood, Han­no­ver
27. - 31. Mai 2019, 09:00 bis 18:00 Uhr
Der TE­THOK–Stand be­fin­det sich in Hal­le 11 Stand 64/66.

The publi­ca­tion RE­T­HIN­K­ING WOOD – Fu­­tu­re Di­­men­si­ons of Tim­ber As­sem­b­­ly with the Bookchapter Tex­ti­le Tec­­to­nics for Wood Con­struc­ti­on is bee­ing re­leased in Mai 2019 by BIRK­HÄU­S­ER, Hrsg. Mar­kus Hu­dert/Sven Pfeif­fer. ISBN 978-3-0356-1706-1

The Cho­re­o­­gra­­fie for dance CROSS THE LI­NE with an in­­ter­ac­ti­ve stage de­sign made of woo­d­en tex­tiles has its pre­miere June, 14th, 2019 at the Thea­ter Am Neu­en Gar­ten 64 in Pot­s­­dam.
Cho­re­o­­gra­­fie: Je­an Marc Le­bon, Ka­te­li­j­ne Phi­lips-Le­bon, Ni­­na Ih­len­feld. Stage de­sign: BAU KUNST ER­FIN­­DEN

The TETHOK group is:

For­schungs­­plat­t­­form BAU KUNST ER­FIN­­DEN | Prof. Hei­ke Kluss­­mann | Speak­er | St­e­f­­fi Sil­ber­­mann, Jan Ju­ra­schek, Arne Dohr­mann, Le­na Hell­mann, Till Ihrig, Mah­yar Jalali

FG Ex­pe­ri­­men­tel­les und Di­gi­­ta­les Kon­stru­ie­ren und En­t­w­er­fen | Prof. Phi­l­ipp

FG Tren­­nen­de und Fü­­gen­de Fer­­ti­­gungs­ver­­fah­ren | Prof. Dr.-Ing. Prof. h.c. Ste­­fan Böhm

In­­sti­­tut für Werk­stof­f­tech­nik/Kun­st­stof­f­tech­nik | Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Pe­ter Heim

FG Bau­me­cha­nik/Bau­dy­­na­mik | Prof. Dr.-Ing. ha­­bil. De­t­lef Kuhl

FG Bau­w­erk­s­er­hal­­tung und Holz­bau | Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wer­n­er Seim

FG Trag­w­erk­sen­twurf | Prof. Ju­lian Lien­hard

TE­THOK wird ge­för­dert von der Pro­­gram­m­li­nie Zu­kunft der Uni­ver­si­tät Kas­sel.


research & project funding

  • Forschungslinie Zukunft, Universität Kassel