Hyperbolic origami-inspired folding of triply periodic minimal surface structures

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Origami-inspired folding methods present novel pathways to fabricate three-dimensional (3D) structures from 2D sheets. A key advantage of this approach is that planar printing and patterning processes could be used prior to folding, affording enhanced surface functionality to the folded structures. This is particularly useful for 3D lattices, possessing very large internal surface areas. While folding polyhedral strut-based lattices has already been demonstrated, more complex, curved sheet-based lattices have not yet been folded due to inherent developability constraints of conventional origami. Here, a novel folding strategy is presented to fold flat sheets into topologically complex cellular materials based on triply periodic minimal surfaces (TPMS), which are attractive geometries for many applications. The approach differs from traditional origami by employing material stretching to accommodate non-developability. Our method leverages the inherent hyperbolic symmetries of TPMS to assemble complex 3D structures from a net of self-foldable patches. We also demonstrate that attaching 3D-printed foldable frames to pre-strained elastomer sheets enables self-folding and self-guided minimal surface shape adaption upon release of the pre-strain. This approach effectively bridges the Euclidean nature of origami with the hyperbolic nature of TPMS, offering novel avenues in the 2D-to-3D fabrication paradigm and the design of architected materials with enhanced functionality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-461
JournalApplied Materials Today
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Architected materials
  • Curvature
  • Folding kinematics
  • Geometry
  • Minimal surfaces
  • Shape-shifting

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