Weft-knitted fabrics offer an excellent formability into complex shapes for composite application. In biaxial weft-knitted fabric, additional yarns are inserted in the warp (wale-wise) and weft (course-wise) directions as a reinforcement. Due to these straight yarns, the mechanical properties of such fabrics are better than those of unreinforced weft-knitted fabrics. The forming process of flat fabrics into 3D preforms is challenging and requires numerical simulation. In this paper, the mechanical behavior of biaxial weft-knitted fabrics is simulated by means of macro- and meso-scale finite element method (FEM) models. The macro-scale modelling approach is based on a shell element formulation and offers reasonable computational costs but has some limitations by the description of fabric mechanical characteristics and forming behavior. The meso-scale modelling approach based on beam elements can describe the fabric’s mechanical and forming characteristics better at a higher computational cost. The FEM models were validated by comparing the results of various simulations with the equivalent experiments. With the help of the parametric models, the forming of biaxial weft-knitted fabrics into complex shapes can be simulated. These models help to predict material and process parameters for optimized forming conditions without the necessity of costly experimental trials.
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