A generic degree-4 vertex (4-vertex) origami possesses one continuous degree-of-freedom for rigid folding, and this folding process can be stopped when two of its facets bind together. Such facet-binding will induce self-locking so that the overall structure stays at a pre-specified configuration without additional locking elements or actuators. Self-locking offers many promising properties, such as programmable deformation ranges and piecewise stiffness jumps, that could significantly advance many adaptive structural systems. However, despite its excellent potential, the origami self-locking features have not been well studied, understood, and used. To advance the state of the art, this research conducts a comprehensive investigation on the principles of achieving and harnessing self-locking in 4-vertex origami structures. Especially, for the first time, this study expands the 4-vertex structure construction from single-component to dual-component designs and investigates their self-locking behaviours. By exploiting various tessellation designs, this research discovers that the dual-component designs offer the origami structures with extraordinary attributes that the single-component structures do not have, which include the existence of flat-folded locking planes, programmable locking points and deformability. Finally, proof-of-concept experiments investigate how self-locking can effectively induce piecewise stiffness jumps. The results of this research provide new scientific knowledge and a systematic framework for the design, analysis and utilization of self-locking origami structures for many potential engineering applications.
Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.3573189.
- Received September 8, 2016.
- Accepted October 25, 2016.
- © 2016 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.