Museum installation features composites structure

The installation includes SIGRAFIL 50k carbon fibers from SGL Group.

As part of its first-ever Engineering Season, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London has unveiled an architectural installation featuring fiber composites and developed by a team from the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Computational Design (ICD) and Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE). Called “Elytra Filament Pavilion,” the installation is based on a robotically fabricated fiber composite structure and is displayed in the Museum’s John Madejski Garden. With robot assistance, the Pavilion will “grow” during the course of the V&A Engineering Season, which runs until November 6. SGL Group, Wiesbaden, Germany, gave optimum support to the fully automated fabrication approach by supplying its SIGRAFIL 50k carbon fiber for the installation and assisting the project team with material expertise and advice.

“We are delighted to contribute our materials and expertise to support Stuttgart University’s very striking exhibition project for V&A’s special Engineering Season. The installation impressively demonstrates the wide-ranging potential for innovative application of composite materials. It also shows the high degree of automation that is now possible in the industrial production of components from composites,” said Andreas Wüllner, head of SGL Group’s Composites – Fibers and Materials Business Unit.

The SIGRAFIL 50k fibers used in the installation represent a new generation of industrial carbon fibers especially suitable for automated production processes. Among other applications, the fibers are used as standard in the BMW i3, i8, and new 7 series. 

The Elytra Filament Pavilion is the result of a number of years’ research into the integration of architecture, construction engineering, and bionic structures, which has been carried out at the Institute for Computational Design and the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design at Stuttgart University. The project shows how the principles of biological fiber structures can be applied to architecture through computational design and fabrication methods. Inspired by the forewing shells (Elytra) of flying beetles, the innovative structure of the Pavilion consists entirely of robotically fabricated glass and carbon fiber elements.

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