Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Ever J Barbero


The recent production of high performance fibers has given way to the development of inflatable structures capable of fulfilling architectural needs that once required the use of metal alloys. The design of these structures requires engineers to know many properties about the unique textile of which the structure is composed. This thesis presents both testing methodology and results for a number of key properties using woven fabric constructed of Vectran fibers.;The primary source for test standards was the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Some alterations were made to standards in an effort to uniquely characterize specific properties of Vectran woven fabric in situations and environments not specifically discussed by ASTM. ASTM standards are also evaluated for their ability to properly characterize Vectran woven fabric, and concerns are discussed for complications which were encountered while using ASTM methods for this specific work.;Material characterization was primarily focused on the creation of a model capable of accurately predicting creep failure times given an applied stress in the fabric. Complications with the long term loading of specimens for creep testing required the development of a new loading frame and material grips, both of which are described in detail. Quasi-static testing was performed, providing the ultimate strength and Young's modulus of the material. Quasi-static testing was also performed to evaluate the fabrics ability to withstand the affects of submersion and environmental crease folding. Finally, friction testing was performed on a number of surfaces, both wet and dry.;Long term loading produced a logarithmic model for predicting creep failure times with an estimated accuracy within 3.67% of the applied load. It was suggested that this error is the direct result of the known repeatability and accuracy errors in the loading frame. Despite this error, the manufactured loading frame and material grips displayed improved results over testing with MTS systems.;Quasi-static testing provided tensile values in both the warp and fill direction for multiple Vectran woven fabric constructions. The Young's modulus was found to have two distinct values for strain of low and high magnitudes in both the fill and warp directions. Additionally, neither submersion nor changes in pressure for crease folding appeared to affect the strength of Vectran. However, the simulated environment used for the crease fold method negatively affected the material. Though further testing is called for, it was suggested that Vectran may observe an increasing loss in strength with respect to time at elevated temperatures. Friction tests were completed, characterizing both bare Vectran woven fabrics, and urethane coated woven fabrics on a number of surfaces, both wet and dry.