Origami-based design is increasing in popularity as its benefits and advantages become better understood and explored. However, many opportunities still exist for the application of origami principles to engineered designs, especially in the use of non-paper, thick sheet materials. One specific area utilizing thick sheet materials that is especially promising is origami-based mechanisms that require electrical power transfer applications. Many of these opportunities can be met by the use of surrogate folds. This thesis provides methods and frameworks that can be used by engineers to efficiently select and design surrogate folds for use in origami-based mechanisms and products. Surrogate folds are a means of achieving fold-like behavior, offering a simple method for achieving folding motions in thicker materials. A surrogate fold is a localized reduction in stiffness in a given direction allowing the material to function like a fold. A family of surrogate folds is reviewed, and the respective behaviors of the folds discussed. For a specified fold configuration, the material thickness is varied to yield different sizes of surrogate folds. Constraint assumptions drive the design, and the resultant configurations are compared for bending motions. Finite element and analytical models for the folds are also compared. Prototypes are made from different materials. This work creates a base for creating design guidelines for using surrogate folds in thick sheet materials. As mechanisms with origami-like movement increase in popularity, there is a need for conducting electrical power across folds. Surrogate folds can be used to address this need. Current methods and opportunities for conducting across folds are reviewed. A framework for designing conductive surrogate folds that can be adapted to fit specific applications is presented. Equations for calculating the electrical resistance in single surrogate folds as well as arrays are given. Prototypes of several conductive joints are presented and discussed. The framework is then followed in the design and manufacture of a conductive origami-inspired mechanism.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





compliant mechanisms, surrogate folds, origami-inspired design, flexible circuits, design, framework