(Textile Knowledge) Woven Fabric: Types of Weaves


Woven fabrics are produced by the interlacing of warp (0°) fibers and weft (90°) fibers in a regular pattern or weave style. The fabric's integrity is maintained by the mechanical interlocking of the fibers. Drape (the ability of a fabric to conform to a complex surface), surface smoothness and stability of a fabric are controlled primarily by the weave style. The following is a description of some of the more commonly found weave styles:

Each warp fiber passes alternately under and over each weft fiber. The fabric is symmetrical, with good stability and reasonable porosity. However, it is the most difficult of the weaves to drape, and the high level of fiber crimp imparts relatively low mechanical properties compared with the other weave styles. With large fibers (high tex) this weave style gives excessive crimp and therefore it tends not to be used for very heavy fabrics.
One or more warp fibers alternately weave over and under two or more weft fibers in a regular repeated manner. This produces the visual effect of a straight or broken diagonal 'rib' to the fabric. Superior wet out and drape is seen in the twill weave over the plain weave with only a small reduction in stability. With reduced crimp, the fabric also has a smoother surface and slightly higher mechanical properties.
Satin weaves are fundamentally twill weaves modified to produce fewer intersections of warp and weft. The ‘harness’ number used in the designation (typically 4, 5 and 8) is the total number of fibers crossed and passed under, before the fiber repeats the pattern. A ‘crowfeet weave is a form of satin weave with a different stagger in the re-peat pattern. Satin weaves are very flat, have good wet out and a high degree of drape. The low crimp gives good mechanical properties. Satin weaves allow fibers to be woven in the closest proximity and can produce fabrics with a close ‘tight’ weave. However, the style’s low stability and asymmetry needs to be considered. The asymmetry causes one face of the fabric to have fiber running predominantly in the warp direction while the other face has fibers running predominantly in the weft direction. Care must be taken in assembling multiple layers of these fabrics to ensure that stresses are not built into the component through this asymmetric effect.

Basket weave is fundamentally the same as plain weave except that two or more warp fibers alternately interlace with two or more weft fibers. An arrangement of two warps crossing two wefts is designated 2x2 basket, but the arrangement of fiber need not be symmetrical. Therefore it is possible to have 8x2, 5x4, etc. Basket weave is flatter, and, through less crimp, stronger than a plain weave, but less stable. It must be used on heavy weight fabrics made with thick (high tex) fibers to avoid excessive crimping.
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