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Origami for designing novel materials and structures

June 5, 2019

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One of the many "origami" designs informing proposed aerospace structures coming out of A&A's LEMS Lab.

Origami is an ancient art of paper folding, but recently, it has attracted a significant amount of attention from the scientific community due to its wide-ranging applications. Professor Jinkyu Yang’s research team in the Laboratory for Engineered Materials and Structures (LEMS Lab) is working on designing and fabricating origami-inspired aerospace structures, such as jumping and grasping robots, space landing structures, and foldable rocket motors.

The key challenge is how to make a lightweight, deployable, yet highly stiff and strong structure in all of these applications. Typically, lightweight and deployable structures tend to lack an appropriate mechanical stiffness and strength, while stiff and strong structures are not easily foldable. To tackle this challenge, Yang’s team has developed a technique to fabricate versatile structures that are simultaneously rugged and reconfigurable. They have successfully shown prototypes in laboratory, and currently are working on expanding the concept to various applications.

See UW News, Origami-inspired materials could soften the blow for reusable spacecraft.