Recent research and development has resulted in a working prototype of an automated process for manufacturing IsoTruss® and other innovative open lattice composite structures which yields faster, and more predictable and consistent parts, while automatically consolidating individual members. This machine is sufficiently versatile to manufacture any type of open lattice structure fabricated from filamentary composite materials. The objectives of the research in this thesis were two-fold: (1) to validate this new process for making IsoTruss structures; and (2) to measure the compression strength and stiffness of specimens produced on the machine. In order to accomplish the first purpose, various parts were manufactured on this prototype machine, including: a six-node IsoTruss structure with single outer longitudinal members, a three-longitudinal member section of an inner longitudinal IsoTruss structure with consolidated members, and a two-bay IsoTruss panel structure. By creating and running patterns to make these parts, the hypothesis that the machine will make any geometry of IsoTruss structure was validated. The second objective of this research was accomplished by testing the compression strength and stiffness of specimens manufactured with this automated process. Buckling versus compression failure of members was examined by varying member aspect ratios. The effect of intersecting helical members was also explored, as was the effect of changing the number of braiding bobbins used to consolidate members. Testing showed that increasing the number of braiders increases consistency of the braided sleeves and reduces scatter in the results. The ratio of helical to longitudinal tows at a joint is directly related to the percent decrease in member strength at the joint. Compression failure of individual members is the preferred method of failure, because this type of failure absorbs significantly more energy. This research proves that the manufacturing process will produce even the most complex IsoTruss geometries, with the necessary consolidation of individual members. Findings also indicate that a few modifications -- such as improved bobbins, more reliable switches, more accurate pulling system, etc. -- will enable this automated process to produce composite lattice structures with superior mechanical properties.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





IsoTruss, consolidation, interweaving, continuous manufacturing, machine, winding patterns, control array, advanced composites, compression test, buckling, braiding, 3-d braiding machine, compression strength