New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

Origami-inspired materials use folds in materials to embed powerful functionality. However, all that folding can be pretty labor intensive. Now, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) are drawing material inspiration from another ancient Japanese paper craft - kirigami.

Kirigami relies on cuts, rather than folds, to change the structure and function of materials.

In a new paper published in Physical Review Letters, SEAS researchers demonstrate how a thin, perforated sheet can be transformed into a foldable 3D structure by simply stretching the cut material.

‘We find that applying sufficiently large amounts of stretching buckling is triggered and results in the formation of a 3D structure comprising a well-organized pattern of mountains and valleys, very similar to popular origami folds such as the Miura-ori,’ said Ahmad Rafsanjani, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS and first author of the paper.

"We find that applying sufficiently large amounts of stretching buckling is triggered and results in the formation of a 3D structure comprising a well-organized pattern of mountains and valleys, very similar to popular origami folds such as the Miura-ori."

The team found that if the material is stretched more, the temporary deformations become permanent folds. The team also found that the pop-up pattern and resulting mechanical properties of the material can be controlled by varying the orientation of the cuts.

‘This study shows a robust pop-up strategy to manufacture complex morphable structures out of completely flat perforated sheets,’ said Bertoldi.

These images are made available to non-commercial entities, press, and theá general public under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives license. You may not alter the images provided, other than to crop them to size. A credit line must be used when reproducing images; if one is not provided here, credit the images to ‘Harvard SEAS.’

An elastic sheet is perforated with a square array of cuts. The mechanical properties of the material can be controlled by varying the orientation of the cuts. (Image courtesy of Ahmad Rafsanjani/Harvard SEAS)


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