Methods for numerical simulation of knit based morphable structures: knitmorphs

Sangram K. Rout*, Marisa Ravena Bisram, Jian Cao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Shape morphing behavior has applications in many fields such as soft robotics, actuators and sensors, solar cells, tight packaging, flexible electronics, and biomedicine. The most common approach to achieve shape morphing structures is through shape memory alloys or hydrogels. These two materials undergo differential strains which generate a variety of shapes. In this work, we demonstrate the novel concept that 2D knits comprising of yarns from different materials can be morphed into different three-dimensional shapes thereby forming a bridge between traditional knitting and shape changing structures. This concept is referred to as Knitmorphs. Our computational analysis acts as the proof of concept revealing that knitted patterns of varying materials morph into complex shapes, such as saddle, axisymmetric cup, and a plate with waves when subjected to thermal loads. Two-dimensional circular models of plain and rib developed on CAD packages are imported to the finite element analysis software Abaqus, followed by post-processing into wires and assigning fiber material properties of different thermal coefficients of expansion and stiffness. We also propose potential applications for the concept of programmable knits for developing robots based upon jellyfish like locomotion, and complex structures similar to wind turbine blades. This novel concept is meant to introduce a new field for design when considering morphable structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6630
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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