Origami by frontal photopolymerization

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Science Advances  28 Apr 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 4, e1602326
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602326


Origami structures are of great interest in microelectronics, soft actuators, mechanical metamaterials, and biomedical devices. Current methods of fabricating origami structures still have several limitations, such as complex material systems or tedious processing steps. We present a simple approach for creating three-dimensional (3D) origami structures by the frontal photopolymerization method, which can be easily implemented by using a commercial projector. The concept of our method is based on the volume shrinkage during photopolymerization. By adding photoabsorbers into the polymer resin, an attenuated light field is created and leads to a nonuniform curing along the thickness direction. The layer directly exposed to light cures faster than the next layer; this nonuniform curing degree leads to nonuniform curing–induced volume shrinkage. This further introduces a nonuniform stress field, which drives the film to bend toward the newly formed side. The degree of bending can be controlled by adjusting the gray scale and the irradiation time, an easy approach for creating origami structures. The behavior is examined both experimentally and theoretically. Two methods are also proposed to create different types of 3D origami structures.

  • origami
  • folding structures
  • photopolymerization
  • 3D printing

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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