Origami-inspired materials could soften the blow for reusable spacecraft


Influenced by the paper folding art of origami, a University of Washington group produced a paper design of a metamaterial that utilizes ‘folding creases’ to soften effect forces for prospective applications in spacecraft, cars and trucks and beyond. Credit: Kiyomi Taguchi/University of Washington

Space automobiles like SpaceX’s Falcon 9 are created to be reusable. However this implies that, like Olympic gymnasts hoping for a gold medal, they need to stick their landings.


Landing is difficult on a rocket’s legs since they need to deal with the force from the effect with the landing pad. One method to fight this is to develop legs out of materials that take in a few of the force and soften the blow.

University of Washington scientists have actually established an unique option to help in reducing effect forces—for prospective applications in spacecraft, cars and trucks and beyond. Influenced by the paper folding art of origami, the group produced a paper design of a metamaterial that utilizes “folding creases” to soften effect forces and rather promote forces that unwind tensions in the chain. The group released its outcomes May 24 in Science Advances.

“If you were wearing a football helmet made of this material and something hit the helmet, you’d never feel that hit on your head. By the time the energy reaches you, it’s no longer pushing. It’s pulling,” stated matching author Jinkyu Yang, a UW partner teacher of aeronautics and astronautics.

Yang and his group created this brand-new metamaterial to have the residential or commercial properties they desired.

Influenced by the paper folding art of origami, a University of Washington group produced a paper design of a metamaterial that utilizes ‘folding creases’ to soften effect forces for prospective applications in spacecraft, cars and trucks and beyond. Credit: Kiyomi Taguchi/University of Washington

“Metamaterials are like Legos. You can make all types of structures by repeating a single type of building block, or unit cell as we call it,” he stated. “Depending on how you design your unit cell, you can create a material with unique mechanical properties that are unprecedented in nature.”

The scientists relied on the art of origami to produce this specific system cell.

“Origami is great for realizing the unit cell,” stated co-author Yasuhiro Miyazawa, a UW aeronautics and astronautics doctoral trainee. “By changing where we introduce creases into flat materials, we can design materials that exhibit different degrees of stiffness when they fold and unfold. Here we’ve created a unit cell that softens the force it feels when someone pushes on it, and it accentuates the tension that follows as the cell returns to its normal shape.”

  • Origami-inspired materials could soften the blow for reusable spacecraft
    Influenced by the paper folding art of origami, a University of Washington group produced a paper design of a metamaterial that utilizes ‘folding creases’ to soften effect forces and rather promote forces that unwind tensions in the chain. Credit: Kiyomi Taguchi/University of Washington
  • Origami-inspired materials could soften the blow for reusable spacecraft
    Influenced by the paper folding art of origami, a University of Washington group produced a paper design of a metamaterial that utilizes “folding creases” to soften effect forces and rather promote forces that unwind tensions in the chain. Revealed here is Jinkyu Yang, a UW partner teacher of aeronautics and astronautics. Credit: Kiyomi Taguchi/University of Washington

Similar to origami, these system cell models are constructed of paper. The scientists utilized a laser cutter to cut dotted lines into paper to designate where to fold. The group folded the paper along the lines to form a round structure, and after that glued acrylic caps on either end to link the cells into a long chain.

The scientists lined up 20 cells and linked one end to a gadget that pressed and triggered a response throughout the chain. Utilizing 6 GoPro cams, the group tracked the preliminary compression wave and the following stress wave as the system cells went back to typical.

The chain made up of the origami cells revealed the counterproductive wave movement: Although the compressive pressing force from the gadget began the entire response, that require never ever made it to the other end of the chain. Rather, it was changed by the stress force that began as the very first system cells went back to typical and propagated quicker and quicker down the chain. So the system cells at the end of the chain just felt the stress force pulling them back.

“Impact is a problem we encounter on a daily basis, and our system provides a completely new approach to reducing its effects. For example, we’d like to use it to help both people and cars fare better in car accidents,” Yang stated. “Right now it’s made out of paper, but we plan to make it out of a composite material. Ideally, we could optimize the material for each specific application.”


Changing origami takes a brand-new shape, broadening usage possibilities


More details:
“Origami-based impact mitigation via rarefaction solitary wave creation” Science Advances (2019). advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/5/eaau2835

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University of Washington

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Origami-inspired materials could soften the blow for reusable spacecraft (2019, May 24)
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