Composite IsoTruss™ structures incorporate intersecting longitudinal and helical members. At the intersections, the fiber tows can be interwoven to achieve mechanical interlocking for increased joint integrity. Interlocking introduces gaps and curvilinear fiber paths similar to the crossovers in filament-wound structures, potentially facilitating local delamination within the members, thus reducing the strength and/or damage tolerance of the structure. Optimizing the interlocking pattern at the joints along with efficient consolidation minimizes these effects.

Joint specimens were fabricated using a specially designed machine. Specific tow intersection patterns at the joint were: 1) Completely encapsulating the longitudinal member with the tows of the helical member; and 2) Interweaving the tows of the helical member with the tows of the longitudinal member. Consolidation was accomplished using: 1) a braided sleeve; 2) a coiled sleeve; 3) a sparse spiral Kevlar® wrap; 4) a polyester shrink tape sleeve; 5) twisting the entire bundle of longitudinal fiber tows; and 6) cinching the joints using aramid fiber.

Ultimate compression strength and stiffness is directly related to the straightness of the tows in the longitudinal members at the intersections. An encapsulated joint reduces member strength by only 4.6%; whereas, an interwoven joint reduces member strength by 30.5%. The fiber paths of the longitudinal member in encapsulated joints are straighter than in interwoven joints, resulting in an average strength difference of 26.2%.

Physical properties, strength, and stiffness show that consolidation quality directly affects performance. Consolidation using sleeves provides high quality consolidation, high strength, and high stiffness. Encapsulated joints consolidated using sleeves have an average ultimate strength and Young's modulus 34% and 21% higher, respectively, than encapsulated joints consolidated using other methods. Interwoven joints consolidated using sleeves have an average ultimate strength and Young's modulus 28% and 19% higher, respectively, than interwoven joints consolidated using other methods. Consolidating specimens using a braided sleeve yields the highest quality based on consistency, strength, and stiffness. Consolidating specimens by twisting the longitudinal member yields the lowest strength and stiffness. These conclusions will be applied to IsoTrussâ„¢ grid structure design and manufacturing technology.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





IsoTruss, Composites, Grid Structures, Carbon Fiber, Lattice Structures, lightweight structures, consolidation, compression, interweaving, braiding, ultimate strength