Origami-based Light-weight Structures

Light-weight structures, compared to the general structures, attract considerable attention because of their desirable mechanical properties, such as high specific energy absorption. Origami, a geometric design approach of complex 3D structure, is widely adopted in the design of light-weight structures. These origami-based light-weight structures usually have improved mechanical properties. Here, the main research field of our laboratory is the design method and mechanical properties of origami-based thin-walled tubes.

1 Thin-walled energy absorber

A novel thin-walled tube was design with a pre-folded kite-shape rigid origami pattern as an energy absorber. The new structure was studied using numerical simulation and theoretical analysis under the quasi-static axial crushing, and shows a smooth and high reaction force curve, which results in more energy absorption and lower initial peak force in comparison with those of conventional square tubes. In the optimum case, an increase of 29.2% in specific energy absorption and a reduction of 56.5% in initial peak force were found in this new thin-walled tube.

The thin-walled tubes with a kite-shape rigid origami pattern

2 Post-buckling thin-walled structures

A series of pre-embedded origami patterns are introduced to the thin-walled structures. Their elastic buckling process can be guided to a range of designed failure modes, which determines the exact post-buckling configuration. Meanwhile, the accuracy of the desired mode are examined experimentally. The energy formulation experimentally describes the driving mechanics of the buckling process and a bistable transition in the deformation. The pre-embedded technique can potentially applied to other mechanical structures with different stiffness or under various boundary conditions.

The thin-walled structure with predictable buckling process