Login / Register

Why Engineers Turned to Origami to Create Reality-Bending Metamaterials

Thanks! Share it with your friends!


You disliked this video. Thanks for the feedback!

Sorry, only registred users can create playlists.

Channel: Seeker
Categories: Chemistry   |   Science   |   Technology  
 Find Related Videos  added


University of Washington researchers have developed a novel solution to help reduce impact forces for potential applications in spacecraft, cars and beyond. And the new approach was inspired by origami.
Subscribe to Seeker!
Watch more Elements!
Visit our shop at

This breakthrough development could one day let us reuse spacecraft, build epic superhero suits, or even harvest energy for electronics. Inspired by the paper folding art of origami, the team created a paper model of a metamaterial (an artificial substance engineered to exhibit properties that we havent actually found in nature) that uses folding creases to soften impact forces and instead promote forces that relax stresses in the chain.

Metamaterials are designed with repeating structures allowing them to direct and control the flow of electromagnetic or physical waves through them. They have incredible propertieslike light-bending abilities or superconductivitythat come from their structure, not their substance.

And so engineering teams, like this one at the University of Washington, can make reality-bending properties emerge from something as simple as acrylic and paper and this design in particular draws from the mathematical concepts of origami.

These aeronautical engineers created a modular structure using shapes they call TCOs, Triangulated Cylindrical Origami. Unlike other metamaterials, which typically tend to harden under compression, this structure exhibits strain-softening behavior. This essentially means that the engineers found a way to turn a compression wave into a tension wave.

So how will this new approach impact the future of spacecrafts, cars, and beyond? Find out in this Elements.

#spacecrafts #metamaterials #origami #superconductivity #science #seeker #elements

Read More:

Origami' Metamaterial Softens Impact Forces
"Landing is stressful on a rockets legs because they must handle the force from the impact with the landing pad. One way to combat this is to build legs out of materials that absorb some of the force and soften the blow. The paper model of the new metamaterial promotes forces that relax stresses in the chain..."

Cool Jobs: The art of paper folding is inspiring science
"Origami has even inspired scientists to tackle a vast variety of projects, from creating shape-shifting pasta to improving noise barriers for roads. These and other origami-inspired scientific innovations are powerful because they pack a triple punch. They combine the power of science, art and math."

A Medley of Metamaterials
"So what's the next frontier in metamaterials? It may be the super-small, according to Itai Cohen of Cornell University. Cohen favors origami metamaterials, which are formed out of thin sheets that can fold and unfold in complex patterns."

Elements is more than just a science show. Its your science-loving best friend, tasked with keeping you updated and interested on all the compelling, innovative and groundbreaking science happening all around us. Join our passionate hosts as they help break down and present fascinating science, from quarks to quantum theory and beyond.

Seeker empowers the curious to understand the science shaping our world. We tell award-winning stories about the natural forces and groundbreaking innovations that impact our lives, our planet, and our universe.

Visit the Seeker website

Elements on Facebook

Subscribe now!

Seeker on Twitter

Seeker on Facebook


Post your comment


Be the first to comment