Articles | Volume 4, issue 2
Research article
15 Nov 2013
Research article |  | 15 Nov 2013

Origami-like creases in sheet materials for compliant mechanism design

K. C. Francis, J. E. Blanch, S. P. Magleby, and L. L. Howell

Abstract. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the creasing of non-paper sheet materials, such as plastics and metals, to facilitate origami-based compliant mechanism design. Although it is anticipated that most origami-based design will result from surrogate folds (indirect methods of replacing the crease), it is valuable to provide information that may help in more direct approaches for origami-based design in materials other than paper. Planar sheets of homogeneous material are considered as they maintain the principles fundamental to origami (flat initial state, low cost, readily available). The reduced stiffness along the axis of the crease is an enabling characteristic of origami. Hence a metric based on the deformation of the crease compared to the deformation of the panels enables engineering materials to be evaluated based on their ability to achieve the "hinge-like" behavior observed in folded paper. Advantages of both high and low values of this metric are given. Testing results (hinge indexes, residual angles, localized hinge behavior and cyclic creasing to failure) are presented for various metals and polymers. This methodology and subsequent findings are provided to enable origami-based design of compliant mechanisms.