March 11, 2019 11:17 AM   Subscribe

The elasticity (aka stretchiness) of knitted fabrics is an emergent property: the whole is more than the sum of its parts. How those components (strands of yarn) are arranged at an intermediate scale (the structure) determines the macro scale properties of the resulting fabric.
posted by clew (7 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps all this math will finally allow us to more accurately answer the question "how much yarn do I need to make that sweater?"

I mean, if the world is going to borrow all this knowledge from knitters, knitters should get something back, right?
posted by jacquilynne at 1:13 PM on March 11 [19 favorites]

This is really interesting! I was reading a paper about fabrics a few weeks back talking about how tear resistance is as much about the weave or knit as it is about the fibre. When you pull on fabric, how many additional fibres get recruited into resisting the tear before the first one reaches its strain limit? With some fabrics it's one fibre at a time, and they tear easily. With others, a whole lot of energy gets absorbed before that first fibre is strained too far.
posted by clawsoon at 3:37 PM on March 11 [4 favorites]

Yes! I've been reading an intro to engineering book and that's how materials work generally. Will get the title and read the article. (The New [in 1976] Science of Strong Materials, Or Why You Don't Fall Through The Floor.)
posted by lokta at 5:34 PM on March 11 [3 favorites]

I wish there were a legend for those links in the article.
posted by lokta at 5:36 PM on March 11

Which article, lokta?

The talk titles at the APS session Fabrics, Knits, and Knots are all delightful: not-knots, detangling hair -- `Born in the wrong geometry'?!?
posted by clew at 10:35 AM on March 12

I'm seeing knits for products I don't recall ever seeing knit before (cycling shoes for instance), and I wonder how much of this kind of research will make it into things like suspension bridges or carbon fiber structures.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:48 AM on March 12

things like suspension bridges or carbon fiber structures.

I have a random bit of knowledge with which to make a guess: Carbon fibre tends to fail when it's bent sharply, so knits would probably be a better fit for Kevlar or UHMWPE.
posted by clawsoon at 12:18 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]

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