Topological kinematics of origami metamaterials

Bin Liu, Jesse L. Silverberg, Arthur A. Evans, Christian D. Santangelo, Robert J. Lang, Thomas C. Hull, Itai Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter/Newsletterpeer-review

79 Scopus citations


A variety of electronic phases in solid-state systems can be understood by abstracting away microscopic details and refocusing on how Fermi surface topology interacts with band structure to define available electron states 1 . In fact, topological concepts are broadly applicable to non-electronic materials and can be used to understand a variety of seemingly unrelated phenomena 2–6 . Here, we apply topological principles to origami-inspired mechanical metamaterials 7–12 , and demonstrate how to guide bulk kinematics by tailoring the crease configuration-space topology. Specifically, we show that by simply changing the crease angles, we modify the configuration-space topology, and drive origami structures to dramatically change their kinematics from being smoothly and continuously deformable to mechanically bistable and rigid. In addition, we examine how a topologically disjointed configuration space can be used to constrain the locally accessible deformations of a single folded sheet. While analyses of origami structures are typically dependent on the energetics of constitutive relations 11–14 , the topological abstractions introduced here are a separate and independent consideration that we use to analyse, understand and design these metamaterials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)811-815
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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