2017 Team 4 – Knitted Carbon Fiber Reinforcement for Composite Arched Bridge system

Team 4 from left to right: Nicholas Staples, Sam Holway, Marco Manes, Travis Garcia.


The Project:

Welcome to the second iteration of the Knitted Composites for Bridge Arches project. This year the group hopes to conduct testing on both scale model carbon fiber arches, as well as flat test strips large enough and modified to resist any influence from geometric concerns.  The scale arches will be a comparison between braided and our knitted carbon fiber technique, once filled with concrete and resin infused they will be a reliable scale test. The final goal of this project is to collect enough data and final results in a way that could be organized into a publishable journal article.

Updates & Changelog:

Updates weekly!

4/26/17 – 5/2/17

Carbon fiber arch successfully infused with help from the ASCC’s Chris Urquhart. The process went well with few mishaps, the pressure drop test, testing the strength of the vacuum, went perfectly, with almost zero loss of vacuum. Prof. Ellis was witness to one of the teams mishaps, when an end plug lost internal pressure resulting in a pressure loss in the internal bag, this was fixed quickly by the team and Urquhart.  The other mishap occurred overnight when the same end plug slipping out of the internal bag, causing another pressure loss, by this time the resin had already gelled / hardened into a semi solid state, therefore there were minimal consequences.

4/24/17 – 4/26/17

Testing of the constraint on an inflated vacuum bag yielded favorable results, a full size test will be underway in the next day or two, if successful, infusion will commence as soon as possible. Work on the final report and presentation continues.

4/17/17 – 4/24/17

Team is preparing for the Final Presentation and the Final Report.  Work continues on the the of using the inflated vacuum bag as the internal support, currently a constraint for the vacuum bag is in progress.

4/9/17 – 4/17/17

The past week the team managed to meet up with Steven Barry at the ASCC on campus, unfortunately our steel flex-pipe prototypes, covered in plastic or not, were deemed unlikely to work under vacuum infusion. Other methods were recommended, namely using inflated vacuum bag as the internal support, and are currently being pursued.

3/19/17 – 4/9/17

Hello all! Sorry for the lack of updates recently, the website editor page has been undergoing some revisions and the URL moved. Anyway, the last three weeks have been productive.  The team knit another full length carbon fiber tube, and prototyping of the internal support has gone well, the current method uses a steel flex-pipe covered in thin plastic, variations on this include a flex-pipe covered in spray rubber, and another including both the plastic and rubber. Current concerns include making contact with Steve Barry at the ASCC for resin infusion assistance and continuing to knit tubes.

2/27/17 – 3/19/17

Hope everyone had a good break, and came back all in one piece. Before break started the group managed to get one full length piece of carbon fiber knit tubing out of the knitting machine, with the quality looking very good. We managed to take a sample from this batch of  fabric and weight it, once the dimensions are measured akin to previous samples, we can establish this batches GSM (grams per square meter), and see how it compares to the previous teams knit density and the braided tube density.

2/20/17 – 2/27/17
The group is currently working hard on producing more knit carbon fiber tube, and on IR#3.  Break is coming up quick.

1/23/17 – 2/20/17
The group is currently in the process of creating more knit carbon fiber, the team currently needs to measure the weight, and get a density of the fabric. The prototype of the mold, an inflated irrigation hose, has been made, and seems to work, there is some concern with the tube not currently being perfectly circular. Hopefully that issue will be overcome as the hose is inflated over time and becomes more malleable and resumes a more circular shape. Full scale arch building molds are still short of fruition, as scheduling continues to be an issue.

12/7/16 – 1/22/17
Hello all, welcome back form the holidays!  The Team is currently in the middle of editing IR #2 and reviewing some experience gained on the knitting machine that was used at the end of last year.  Very shortly begins the build phase, materials have already been purchased and collected. Construction should proceed shortly on the knitted tubes themselves and the forms that will be used to shape them during the resin process. Hopefully all goes well, see you at the next update.

12/2/16 – 12/7/16
Interim Report #2 has been handed in!  It contains the groups build concepts and the down selection process.
The final choice was a inner tube, like a thick irrigation hose, pressurized by water or air, covered in the resin vacuum system, and then bent on a plywood guide.
Parts have been ordered for a small prototype that will test the ability to curve the hose.

11/28/16 – 12/2/2016
Not too much to report on, the team is back from break, thankfully with all faculties intact.

The work Instruction for the knitting machine has been finalized, now a short instructional session with Erb is required
Progress on Interim Report #2 marches on
An arch system is in prototyping stages, involving a bent hose, similar to a fire or irrigation hose. It will be filled with water or air used to support the internal of the CF sleeve as the resin is applied.
Overall much work remains, and many materials and procedures must be secured before major progress can be made.
The group remains hopeful about meeting the goal of having sleeves filled and curing before the Winter break.

11/23/16 – 11/27/16 Happy Thanksgiving break

11/7/16 – 11/16/16
STILL waiting on news of the work instruction of the FAK knitting machine
The group hopes to get the machine up and running by Monday (10/21) of next week to have some experience to reflect on during Thanksgiving Break
Hopefully some test coupons can be made for the geometric independent testing
A&P has generously donated five pounds of braided carbon fiber, product W58L300X, the company has our immense thanks and gratitude
The team is in the midst of a small internal competition to create a concept for the internal support of the carbon fiber arches prior to and during resin application
Interim Report #2 looms on the horizon

10/31/16 – 11/7/16

A&P has been contacted, possibility of donated materials in the projects future?
Interim Report has been graded and the team is in process of making revisions.
Still waiting on work instruction for FAK knitting machine.
Further Updates will be moved to Wednesday to better coordinate with group and advisor meetings 

10/23/16 – 10/31/16 – Happy Halloween!

The Interim report has been handed in, the team awaits the grade. We will have a chance for revisions.
Met with Jon Roy at the Composites Center to go over the FAK knitting machine
We await a formal set of the Work manual/introduction to be made
Marco ran some numbers to figure out how much material we will need
Now we are looking for either donors or a low purchase price on both CF Yarn and Braided tube material

10/17/16 – 10/23/16:

The Team is hard at work on the interim report, our main focus.
All lab safety training has been completed, and the group is waiting on training on the operation of the actual knitting machine.
Gathering materials is next on the docket. Braided CF, CF yarn, and concrete are all necessary to continue, as current stocks are low
Research is progressing on alternate internal support systems as well as materials
Marco the PR manager is reaching out to companies looking for donations of materials

10/10/16 – 10/17/16:

Team met with David Erb our sponsor, details were hashed out and some major decisions made.
Team continues work on the literature review, article summaries take up majority.Group meetings carried out on Friday and Monday (10/17).
Progress continues on Interim report 1.
Team Bios, Pictures, and updated Summary coming soon.
No Photos, yet as entire team does not have lab access yet.
Should have lab access by the end of the next week, (10/17 – 10/24)


Website up and running.

Team Bio:

Samuel Holway  – 22 year old Mechanical Engineering Technology student from Hyannis, Massachusetts. Enjoys restoring classic cars and generally tinkering with anything mechanical.

Marco Manes – A 22 year old Mechanical Engineering Technology student from Newtown, Connecticut. Hobbies include working on cars, ATV’s, and dirt bikes. Has a dedicated interest in 3D printing.

Travis Garcia – A 23 year old Mechanical Engineering Technology student from Lewiston, Maine. Previous experience with textile based composites includes fiberglass boat hull repair, and competition in the Maine Windblade Challenge.

Nicholas Staples – A 22 year old Mechanical Engineering Technology student from Marshfield, Massachusetts. Enjoys fabrication work of any kind, particularly carpentry and woodworking, has previous textile composite stemming from the addition of fiberglass to wooden boat hulls.



Use this link to access the teams photo gallery.

Project Sponsors / Donors:

Client: David Erb, Senior R&D Program Manager, University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

A&P Technology generously donated 5lbs of 3″ Bi-axial carbon fiber tube.