Origami as the ‘atoms’ of artificial materials

Wei Jiang (Air Force Engineering University, China), co-author of a new JPhysD article, explains how the traditional art of origami is inspiring cutting-edge materials science.

Origami is a traditional manual art. You can make various shaped objects through folding a sheet of paper in different ways. It is interesting, full of joy and is very popular, especially for children. Origami has been widely recognized as an elegant art form, full of creativity.

In the last decade, metamaterials have become one of the frontiers of materials research, due to their novel properties that go beyond nature. In metamaterial design, it is crucial for scientists and engineers to first devise the elementary constituent artificial structures, analogous to atoms of natural materials, or so-called ‘meta-atoms’. Since a large diversity of structures can be made, origami provides a large range of possibilities for novel metamaterial design. A great many origami-inspired metamaterials have been emerging, such as lightweight sandwich structures, automotive safety devices, deployable solar panels, medical stents, foldable electronics and mechanical metamaterials.

In our recent work, we present an origami-based building block, created from an octagonal flat sheet. To reduce the complexity of the design, the origami pattern has only one degree of freedom. As a fundamental origami fold, the origami mechanism (OM) can serve as a building block for mechanical metamaterials or other complex structures. By means of 3D printing technology, we fabricate poly lactic acid (PLA) samples. Their key features include their light weight, tunable mechanical properties and negative Poisson’s ratio, which make the building block a promising candidate for engineering applications.

The geometric model of the origami mechanism (OM): (a) the flat octagonal sheet, (b) 3D geometry of a folded OM, and (c) two connected folded OMs. Figure taken from Wei Jiang et al 2016 J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 49 315302, © IOP Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

The geometric model of the origami mechanism (OM): (a) the flat octagonal sheet, (b) 3D geometry of a folded OM, and (c) two connected folded OMs. Figure taken from Wei Jiang et al 2016 J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 49 315302, © IOP Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Origami provides inspiration for constructing the constituent structures of metamaterials. Previously, we have carried out systematic research on origami-inspired electromagnetic metamaterials, mechanical metamaterials and acoustic metamaterials, etc. In addition, the study of multi-functional metamaterials is also a focus of our current work. Multi-functional metamaterials are a new field of materials, which may be useful in areas such as mechanics, thermology, acoustics, optics and electromagnetism. Metamaterials with excellent properties in two or more of these areas can be regarded as multi-functional metamaterials, and may have many practical applications.

The full article is available to read now in Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics.

About the Authors

Shaobo QuDr. Shaobo Qu is currently a Professor of the Department of Physics, Air Force Engineering University. Professor Qu’s research interests mainly focus on electronic materials and devices. He established the Metamaterial Research Team of Air Force Engineering University and has been working in the area of metamaterials since 2003. After more than 12 years’ investigations on metamaterials, the research interests of his team now include metamaterial design, metamaterial antennas, metamaterial absorbers, frequency selective surfaces, and others. Professor Qu’s group is working on the frontier of metamaterials in China.

Hua MaDr. Hua Ma is a Professor with the College of Science, Air Force Engineering University, where he graduated and gained his PhD in physical electronics in 2009. His doctoral dissertation was rated as the national excellent doctoral dissertation of China in 2011. Professor Ma has been at the forefront in the development of numerical methods of designing and characterizing metamaterials. His research interests include transformation optics, optimization design methods of metamaterials, nanostructures and their physical properties, etc. He is also one of the leading investigators in the Metamaterial Research Team of Air Force Engineering University.

Jiafu WangDr. Jiafu Wang is an associate professor working in the College of Science, Air Force Engineering University, where he graduated and gained his PhD in physical electronics in 2010. He has been working in the area of electromagnetic metamaterails and their applications since 2007, and now his research focuses on theory and applications of metamaterial-mediated spoof surface plasma polaritons (SSPPs), especially on dispersion engineering of SSPPs recently. He is also one of the leading investigators in the Metamaterial Research Team of Air Force Engineering University.

Wei JiangWei Jiang is a candidate for masters degree in physical electronics, supervised by Professor Hua Ma, in College of Science, Air Force Engineering University. He graduated from Shandong University in 2014. He is now working in the area of mechanical metamaterial and its combination with electromagnetic metamaterials. He is interested in the design of multi-functional metamaterials.

 

 

 

 


CC-BY logoThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Image taken from Origami-inspired building block and parametric design for mechanical metamaterials Wei Jiang et al 2016 J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 49 315302, © IOP Publishing. All Rights Reserved.



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