Michael Assis: Atomic Origami

Michael Assis: Atomic Origami


This is a folded example of a Miura-ori pattern. It is famous not just in origami but in engineering
as well. It is useful because it is contracting and
expanding. It is an example of a negative Poisson ratio
material. So there has been some interest in using this
as a kind of meta material for which you could tune its properties, in particular its compressibility
properties. The pure Miura-ori compresses like so, but
you can introduce defects. I’ve introduced a defect here in this corner. And in the area of the defect, the paper is
distorted a bit and it changes the compressibility properties of this pattern as a material. So what happens if you introduce a number
of these defects? What happens when you flood this thing with
defects? Will it still fold up in the same way? My research is centered on quantifying the
effect of defects, how neighboring defects interact with each other, and at what point
do you loose all the long-range order in this material. In order to do that, I related origami to
an area of physics named statistical mechanics. I considered each of the defects as an atom
that can interact with its neighbors. With a sufficient number of atoms interacting,
you can show that the Miura-ori has a phase transition, a point at which all of the long-range
order in the material vanishes.

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