Expanding the Composite Manufacturing Process Through Folding

Market Overview:

This approach to the manufacturing of fiberglass reinforced plastic composites allows for the fabrication of the structure without the use of molds. Molds are extremely advantageous for producing repeating  plastic composite designs, but are not desirable to use for the manufacturing of a unique structure. In many architectural applications, unique composite structures are required for the complex design of new ideas. It is not economical for unique parts to be made through a modeling process, therefore there is a need for a new development process of custom composite designs. Clemson University researchers have developed a new sequential manufacturing process of composites that can fabricate unique structures without the use of molds. The process involves applying resin to certain portions of the fiberglass cloth, and the portions without resin allow the surfaces to fold. The folds allow for the materials to be easily shipped and can be fully prepared once shipped by applying resin to the seams.


Application                                                             Stage of Development

Construction Science; Architecture                         Lab-scale prototypes 



• Eliminates the time and additional cost associated with traditional mold-making by selectively coating flat

  sheets of fiberglass with resin

• Increases the load-carrying capacity of the material by generating rigidity while retaining its lightness

  as a sheet material

• Decreases cost and difficulty of shipping by following the creasing to flatly fold the structure for shipping and

  transportation to the project site.


Technical Summary

The method involves selectively coating flats sheets of fiberglass with resin by covering the hinge points with tape. This process allows sections of the panels to harden with the resin, while the sections without resin remain flexible. The flexible seams function as fabric hinges that enable the panel to fold into complex 3-dimensional shapes. Once the structure has been positioned at the project site, the resin is applied at the hinges to reinforce its shape. This fiberglass reinforced plastic fabrication process is the first of its type to eliminate the traditional mold-making method by applying folding techniques.


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Inventor:                        Dr. Joseph Choma


Patent Type:                  Provisional


Serial Number:              62/655,978


CURF Ref No:               2017-050



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Andy Bluvas
Technology Commercialization Officer
Clemson University Research Foundation
Joseph Choma
Brian Leounis
Tyler Rodgers
Caleb Roberts
Sarah Pyne
Keith Sosebee
Christian Bravo
Reginald Wilson
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