Crucial test for football jerseys – What modern jerseys have to withstand

Membrane and fabric calculations for packaging and textiles

It’s 1990, the year of the 14th edition of the FIFA World Cup held in Italy. The team of Franz Beckenbauer, Jürgen Klinsmann and Lothar Matthäus wins 1:0 against Argentina in the finals. In 2018, the German jersey manufacturer continues its success. With a design based on the jersey of 1990, the team is set to win the cup again in 2018.

While the jerseys were probably still very uncomfortable and warm back in 1990, sophisticated technologies are used for modern jerseys.

Besides the design, further factors play an important role:
The material of a jersey has to be particularly light and be able to effectively transfer the sweat away from the body. It should also not cause friction sores or become too heavy on wet lawns. Dirt resistance and extreme stress on the material due to ground contact and hard duels are also part of everyday life.

If the jersey does not withstand the stress, it will be damaged or even unusable. This can lead to unnecessary interruptions of the game, frustration and of course some laughs, as the Swiss national team has already noticed:

Seven jerseys were torn in a match against France at the European Championship 2016. The laugh on the Internet quickly raised the question: “Was it really the French’s rough style of play or were product defects to blame for the dilemma?
The sporting goods manufacturer described this problem as a defective batch of material. Incorrect heat exposure had contributed to weaken the material.

Identify weaknesses with FEM already in the development phase

Calculation on a shirt with consideration of the load distribution on a body

Various fabrics can be calculated with the structural analysis in the development phase and weak points can be found and eliminated efficiently. Simulations of materials with extreme stress become increasingly interesting. Increased safety, lowered costs and better product quality are the goals of such calculations. Membrane and fabric calculations are used e.g. for:

  • Airbags
  • Carrier bags
  • Packaging materials
  • Safety or outdoor clothing

How does the membrane and fabric calculation work?

Small submodels are used to analyse the behaviour of the fabrics. After the analysis, the behaviour is transferred and applied to the overall model. By means of this model hotspots of the loads can be shown. As a countermeasure e.g. better sewing of seams, changing the cut or strengthening the material at particularly stressed points can be used.

This method can be applied to anisotropic behaviour and composites (e.g. multilayer foils). In addition, not only the membrane itself, but also the enclosed component or body part can be used for the calculation. This facilitates simulations for packaging, packaging material and their protective effect.

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In addition to normal membrane and fabric calculations, Fluid Structure Interaction can also be used to simulate the expansion and stress of gas-filled bodies. This method is used e.g. for airbags or balloons.

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