An evaluation of the three-dimensional geometric shape of moulded bra cups

Kit Lun Yick, L. Wu, Yiu Wan Yip, S. P. Ng, W. Yu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Bra cup moulding is currently a remarkable process in the production of seamless intimate apparel. The process is highly complex, time-consuming and error-prone due to the large variations of foam and lamination properties, cup styles and sizes, and geometric features of graduated padding. In particular, the three-dimensional (3D) geometric shape of foam cups is difficult to assess accurately because they are very soft and readily deform. In cases that involve fitting problems, shape modifications of the mould head and determination of the optimal moulding conditions have undergone repeated trials and errors. There is limited knowledge about the effects of foam properties and cup parameters in the controlling of moulding conditions. This study adopts a parameterization-based remesh algorithm method to evaluate the 3D shapes of the convex surface of scanned cup samples. The shape conformity of the cup is quantified in accordance to the corresponding mould head. In this respect, the moulding conditions that would achieve the most desirable geometric shapes of bra cups can be accurately and objectively demonstrated. Based on moulding experiments with 6 types of polyurethane (PU) foam materials, empirical equations that associate the cup shape conformity and the shape deviations from selected cup sectional curves are established. Through the use of non-linear regression models, the shape conformity of the moulded cups can be predicted by moulding conditions with reasonable accuracy. The shape conformity provides effective guidelines for quality assurance and improves production efficiency of bra cup moulding. Moreover, thermal-mechanical properties, such as compressive strain and softening temperature obtained from thermomechanical analysis (TMA) scans, provide a good understanding of cup shape conformity and determine the lowest moulding temperature at initial trails of the bra cup moulding process. Surprisingly, in pliable foams, the cup size does not have an apparent effect on the moulding conditions to achieve optimal cup shape conformity. The results reveal that the moulding conditions for sizes 34B and 34D could remain the same for pliable foam materials. Nevertheless, in the case of more rigid foams, a higher moulding temperature is required to achieve a desirable cup shape for size 34D as more energy is required for the heat-setting of foam materials with higher proportions of hard segments at the moulding of a larger cup size in anticipation of larger deformations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-563
Number of pages8
JournalFibers and Polymers
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


  • 3D shape geometry
  • Bra cup moulding
  • Polyurethane foam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics


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