Peraza Hernandez, Edwin Alexander (2016-12). Kinematics, Structural Mechanics, and Design of Origami Structures with Smooth Folds. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Origami provides novel approaches to the fabrication, assembly, and functionality of engineering structures in various fields such as aerospace, robotics, etc. With the increase in complexity of the geometry and materials for origami structures that provide engineering utility, computational models and design methods for such structures have become essential. Currently available models and design methods for origami structures are generally limited to the idealization of the folds as creases of zeroth-order geometric continuity. Such an idealization is not proper for origami structures having non-negligible thickness or maximum curvature at the folds restricted by material limitations. Thus, for general structures, creased folds of merely zeroth-order geometric continuity are not appropriate representations of structural response and a new approach is needed. The first contribution of this dissertation is a model for the kinematics of origami structures having realistic folds of non-zero surface area and exhibiting higher-order geometric continuity, here termed smooth folds. The geometry of the smooth folds and the constraints on their associated kinematic variables are presented. A numerical implementation of the model allowing for kinematic simulation of structures having arbitrary fold patterns is also described. Examples illustrating the capability of the model to capture realistic structural folding response are provided. Subsequently, a method for solving the origami design problem of determining the geometry of a single planar sheet and its pattern of smooth folds that morphs into a given three-dimensional goal shape, discretized as a polygonal mesh, is presented. The design parameterization of the planar sheet and the constraints that allow for a valid pattern of smooth folds and approximation of the goal shape in a known folded configuration are presented. Various testing examples considering goal shapes of diverse geometries are provided. Afterwards, a model for the structural mechanics of origami continuum bodies with smooth folds is presented. Such a model entails the integration of the presented kinematic model and existing plate theories in order to obtain a structural representation for folds having non-zero thickness and comprised of arbitrary materials. The model is validated against finite element analysis. The last contribution addresses the design and analysis of active material-based self-folding structures that morph via simultaneous folding towards a given three-dimensional goal shape starting from a planar configuration. Implementation examples including shape memory alloy (SMA)-based self-folding structures are provided.

publication date

  • December 2016