Design, Manufacturing and Characterization of Origami-inspired Novel Lightweight Composite Structures

  • Mae AlMansoori

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


An increasing number of engineering applications need to design and develop novel foldable structures and devices to improve the packaging efficiency of a deployable component. Owing to an outstanding packaging efficiency and jointless folding, origami-inspired composites have attracted great interest in aerospace, flexible electronics, robotics and other applications. Considering the complexity of many origami patterns, a novel fabrication method is needed to manufacture an origami-based foldable composite structure. In this study, a cost-effective out-of-autoclave manufacturing technique is employed to develop a novel lightweight origami-inspired flexible composite structure. The folding operation is achieved through elastic hinges that separate the different architected stiffened region of the composites. The proposed technique is used to manufacture two different origami-inspired fiber-reinforced flexible composites, namely, the origami-based triangulated cylinder with a spiral configuration and the single-DOF reverse folder flasher design. To investigate the behavior of the elastic hinges bending within an origami flexible composite, simple foldable coupons are fabricated with different elastic hinge widths. Cyclic compression tests are conducted to determine the lowest bending stiffness coupled with the highest elastic energy for quickest recovery after unloading. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was conducted to understand the structure of the elastic hinge due to the fabrication methods and Micro-computed tomography (XCT) was performed to obtain the orthotropic properties of the elastic hinge. Mechanical tests on the cylindrical flexible composite shows a consistent recovery of 85% of its original length after more than two loading cycles. The resulting cylindrical structure exhibited easy deploy and easy collapse properties. Finally, the flasher design (a box-like structure that flattens once deployed), exhibited a deployment radius of 4 times of its folded state and a 98% recovery of its surface area
Date of AwardNov 2019
Original languageAmerican English


  • Origami
  • flasher
  • deployment
  • tunable stiffness
  • prepreg
  • foldable structures
  • composite structures.

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