Purdue University Graduate School

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posted on 2023-12-20, 17:02 authored by Salvador Rojas IIISalvador Rojas III

Origami has emerged as a design paradigm to realize morphing structures with rich kinematic and mechanical properties. Biological examples augment the potential folding design space by suggesting intriguing routes for achieving and expanding crease patterns which traditional origami laws are unable to capture. Specifically, spring origami theory exploits the material system architecture and energy storage mechanism of the earwig wing featuring one of the highest folding ratios in the animal kingdom (1:18), minimal energy required for deployment and collapse of the wing, and bistability locking the wing in closed, and open configurations for crawling through tunnels, and flight, respectively. The central mechanism responsible for bistability in the wing features a non-developable crease pattern with a non-zero Gaussian curvature. Reconfiguring, or even flattening a structure with such an intrinsic property requires stretching or tearing; soft, rubbery material found in the creases of the central mechanism allows for stretching enabling shape transformations between open and closed states without tearing. In the first part of this thesis, such characteristics are transferred to a synthetic bistable soft robotic gripper leveraging the shape adaptability and conformability exhibited by the biological organism to minimize actuation energy. This is achieved by integrating soft, flexible material in the bioinspired gripper that allows kinematically driven geometries to grasp and manipulate objects without continuous actuation. Secondly, the stiffening effect from spring origami is utilized in a bioinspired wing for an aerial--aquatic robot. Transitions between air and sea in multimodal robots is challenging, however, a structurally efficient and multifunctional membrane is developed to increase locomotive capabilities and longer flights. This is motivated by the flying fish's locomotive modules and origami design principles for deployment and folding. Additionally, to keep the wing in a stiff state while gliding, spring origami bistable units are integrated into the membrane inducing self-stiffening and a global curvature reducing energy expenditure while generating lift. While the previous examples present solutions to adaptive manipulation and membrane multifunctionality, once programmed, their shapes are fixed. In the third application, a class of multistable self-folding origami architectures that are reprogrammable post fabrication are presented. This is achieved by encoding prestrain in bilayer creases with anisotropic shrinkage that change shape and induce a local curvature in the creases in response to external stimuli. The topology of the energy landscapes can thus be tuned as a function of the stimulation time and adaptable post fabrication. The proposed method and model allows for converting flat sheets with arranged facets and prestrained mountain-valley creases into self-folding multistable structures. Lasty, encoding crease prestrain is leveraged to manufacture a biomimetic earwig wing featuring the complex crease pattern, structural stability, and rapid closure of the biological counterpart. The presented method provides a route for encoding prestrain in self-folding origami, the multistability of which is adaptable after fabrication.


Air Force Office of Scientific Research FA9550-17-1-0074

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowhship Program No. DGE-1333468


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Andres F. Arrieta

Additional Committee Member 2

David J. Cappelleri

Additional Committee Member 3

James M. Gibert

Additional Committee Member 4

Ramses V. Martinez