Elastic absorption of kinetic energy and distribution of impact forces are required in many applications. This may be achieved through the use of compliant corrugations. An innovative padding concept is investigated for such applications. Also, recent attention given to the potential for using origami in engineering applications may provide new corrugation configurations that are advantageous for energy absorption and force distribution. This work explores three areas related to these concepts.First, the parameters of a compliant, corrugated padding concept are investigated using Finite Element Analyses (FEA) and physical testing. The shape of the corrugation cross section is explored as well as the wavelength and amplitude by employing a full factorial design of experiments. FEA results are used to choose designs for prototyping and physical testing. The results of the physical testing were consistent with the FEA predictions although the FEA tended to underestimate the peak pressure compared to the physical tests. A performance metric is proposed to compare different padding configurations. The concept shows promise for sports padding applications. It may allow for designs which are smaller, more lightweight, and move better with an athlete than current technologies yet still provide the necessary protective functions.Second, the elastic energy absorbing properties of a particular origami folding pattern, the Miura-ori, is investigated. Analytical models for the kinematics and force-deflection of a unit cell based on two different modes of elastic energy absorption are derived. The models are used to explore the effects of the key geometrical parameters of the tessellation. Physical prototypes are compared to the analytical models.Third, a three-stage strategy is presented for selecting materials for origami-inspired corrugations that can deform to achieve a desired motion without yielding, absorb elastic strain energy, and be light weight or cost effective. Two material indices are derived to meet these requirements based on compliant mechanism theory. Using Finite element analysis, it is shown that the properties of Miura-ori pattern has advantages for energy absorption and force distribution when compared to a triangular wave corrugation. While the focus of these studies is the Miura-ori tessellation, the methods developed can be applied to other tessellated patterns used in energy absorbing or force distribution applications.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





energy absorption, compliant mechanism, origami, corrugation, material selection, Miura-ori