This area will be treated only cursorily in this chapter because it is the focus of considerable discussion in Chapter 7 (product development), due to the special steps being taken in Japan for its development. It should be noted that, whereas the U.S. composites industry has been largely driven by the predominance of the chemical industry, the Japanese industry is still to a large extent shaped by the textile industry. It is in this area that the Japanese are significantly advanced over their U.S. counterparts, with developments of cost-efficient automated computer- controlled looms for block-type and dome-shaped 3-D construction. Hybrid construction methodologies and methods for the fabrication of hybrid fabric/composite preforms are well advanced. Professor Z. Maekawa (Kyoto Institute of Technology) has conducted a number of advanced studies in the area of simulation and fabrication of 3-D braided structures. These are extremely difficult to visualize, and his computer simulations provide the first steps towards the tailoring of these architectures.

Published: April 1994; WTEC Hyper-Librarian