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Origami and materials science.

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Liu, H 
Plucinsky, P 
James, RD 


Origami, the ancient art of folding thin sheets, has attracted increasing attention for its practical value in diverse fields: architectural design, therapeutics, deployable space structures, medical stent design, antenna design and robotics. In this survey article, we highlight its suggestive value for the design of materials. At continuum level, the rules for constructing origami have direct analogues in the analysis of the microstructure of materials. At atomistic level, the structure of crystals, nanostructures, viruses and quasi-crystals all link to simplified methods of constructing origami. Underlying these linkages are basic physical scaling laws, the role of isometries, and the simplifying role of group theory. Non-discrete isometry groups suggest an unexpected framework for the design of novel materials. This article is part of the theme issue 'Topics in mathematical design of complex materials'.


Funder: Simons Foundation; Id:

Funder: Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship


design of materials, isometry groups, origami, phase transformations, quasi-crystals, viruses

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Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci

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The Royal Society
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/R014604/1)
EPSRC (EP/V521929/1)