Using origami and kirigami to inspire reconfigurable yet structural materials

Origami, the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures, has long inspired industrial design. The concept of folding has been used to build reconfigurable structures, which change function by changing shape. These structures hold promise for applications such as nanorobots for drug delivery, bendable solar panels for aerospace, and morphable coatings and shaders for architecture. However, most of these designs cannot withstand heavy loads. Those that can can only do so in a certain direction, collapsing along the direction in which they bend. This limits their use as structural materials.

A study by a group of researchers from McGill University may provide a solution to this limitation. By fusing the concepts of origami and kirigami, the practice of paper folding and cutting, researchers have developed a class of cellular metamaterials that can bend flat and lock into multiple positions that remain rigid in multiple directions.

“Their load-carrying capacity, fold-flat ability and reprogrammability can be exploited for deployable structures including some submarines, reconfigurable robots and low-volume packaging,” said Damiano Pasini, a professor in the Department of Engineering. mechanic and principal investigator of the study. . “Our metamaterials remain rigid in multiple directions, yet rigidly bendable-flat metamaterials, attributes unparalleled in current literature.”

– This press release was originally published on the McGill University website

Michael J. Chiaramonte