Physics – Close-up: Video – Tunable Origami


&ball; Physics 12, 44

A folding model produces a metamaterial with properties that can be adjusted over a wide range.

P. Pratapa et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. (2019)

The art becomes science. Some of the folds of this origami pattern can bend in two different ways, making it easy to change the mechanical properties of the material (see video below).

The origami is not just for making paper sculptures; Engineers develop origami-inspired structures that unfold in space and in blood vessels. Researchers led by Glaucio Paulino of Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta have demonstrated a new folding model that produces a 2D material whose mechanical properties can be set over a wide range. The periodic folding pattern consists of a network of folds, some of which can produce a "mountain ridge" or "valley", depending on how they bend. The passage of a fold from one mountain to another causes a modification of the Poisson's ratio, which describes the degree of shrinkage of a material in a direction along a perpendicular direction. Researchers could adopt a complete switch to all reversible folds, transforming the material from a positive Poisson ratio (egg box mode) to a negative mode ratio (Miura mode). They can also switch to the selected rows of the model, resulting in a hybrid fold.

P. Pratapa et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. (2019)

This pattern of folds produces two main configurations: the state of the egg box (positive Poisson ratio) and the state of Miura (negative Poisson radio). There are also two different ways to completely flatten the material.

Hybrid folds could lead to structures with a new level of versatility, says Paulino. For example, some concert halls have adjustable acoustic origami structures to control the projection of sound. With a greater variety of configurations, such structures could provide a more personalized musical experience. Paulino is also interested in designing an origami-based drone accident protection system that could be modified depending on flight conditions.

This research is published in Letters of physical examination.

David Ehrenstein

David Ehrenstein is the focus editor for Physics.


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