Paper Folding Technique Similar to Origami Enables Shape-Changing Metamaterials

Sometimes its good to go back to the classics.

8. 7. 16 by Jelor Gallego
YouTube/Tomohiro Tachi
Image by YouTube/Tomohiro Tachi

The art of folding paper, or origami, is pretty well known. Almost everyone has made a little crane out of square of brightly-colored paper. But, have you ever heard of the more sophisticated Kirigami? It isn’t just for art lovers.

The ancient Japanese art of Kirigami is being used by engineers from the University of Bristol to create shape-changing metamaterials that morph into 3D shapes.


University of Bristol

Metamaterials are materials that are produced artificially for properties not found in natural materials. They are used for artificial electromagnetic and vibration absorbers and high-performance sensors.


“This technique allows us to create cellular structures with engineered cuts and folds that produce large shape and volume changes, and with extremely directional, tuneable mechanical properties,” says Fabrizio Scarpa, Professor of Smart Materials and Structures in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and ACCIS in a press release.

The study is published in Scientific Reports. Fields that could benefit from these developments include robotics, morphing structures for airframe and space applications, and smart antennas.

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