In order to design braiding sequences for three-dimensional braided components, a method to predict the yarn structure is necessary, because the mechanical properties of the component are dependent on the yarn structure. Satisfactory methods for predicting yarn structure based on braiding sequence are presently unavailable, although recent efforts  based on a finite element approach have yielded some positive results. In this paper we present a relatively efficient method based on an optimization approach. In our approach, the basic idea is to exploit the fact that the yarn structure of the braid must be the one that minimizes the total yarn length in the braid. Thus, the yarn structure can be predicted by minimizing the yarn length, subject to the condition that the yarns cannot intersect each other.
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