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Keywords:

  • auxetic;
  • knit design methodology;
  • knitted textiles;
  • knowledge transfer

This paper examines a novel approach to designing auxetic textiles. Knit design techniques are used to create auxetic weft-knitted textiles. Development of the appropriate fabrics addresses aesthetic, tactile and subjective design qualities alongside questions of auxetic functionality and testing considerations. The auxetic fabrics produced exhibit expansion in the X- or Y-axis (aligning axes to direction of knitting). The results range from neutral Poisson's ratio to those with a marked expansion in relation to their extension. The fabric discussed uses relief stitch structures and transferred stitches. Variant auxetic knitted fabrics have been produced including related stitch structures and spacer fabrics using the same design processes. The auxetic effects are inspired by common auxetic geometries from the literature. This research aims to combine the methodologies used in knit design and knit engineering to create functional auxetic textiles by using the methods innate to a more traditionally aesthetic design subject. Using quantitative methods to measure the auxetic effect in the samples and qualitative personal reflections on samples, results are kept simple in order to promote dissemination amongst practitioners in different fields. Utilising focus groups with practitioners from various design fields it is also possible to assess the visual, tactile and commercial appeal of the auxetic fabrics whilst they are still in the developmental stage. Using these different methods of feedback into the design stage the theoretical outcome remains simple in terms of language and results stated. The importance of knowledge transfer between disciplines of design and engineering is key to this study. Data capture is imperative encompassing qualitative and quantitative perspectives in conjunction with the use of generically specified terminology. The knowledge transfer afforded by these collaborations is a key output to support the methods chosen for fabric development, those which cross disciplines and appeal to a wide market. Along with an open and experimental approach to conceiving product applications, this will help to place auxetic materials in public view in areas that are novel to the field of auxetic research.