This work investigates how curved-crease origami and the developable surfaces which compose it can be transitioned to engineering design. Methods for creating flexible, tailorable-property surfaces that function as thick panels in place of paper are presented. Concepts from curved-crease origami and developable surfaces that can describe and extend engineering applications are discussed and demonstrated. These concepts are particularly beneficial to applications where curved surfaces are integral to the function, deployability is desired, and planar manufacturing could be beneficial.The first part of this work uses arrays of compliant elements to create flexible-tailorable property surfaces. The key feature to these arrays is the alignment of the most flexible bending axis of the individual elements to the ruling line arrangement of a developable surface. This alignment can enable bending of thick panels while maintaining lower stresses, a quality necessary for the transitioning of curved-crease origami into thick materials. The stiffness and stress of these arrays is modeled and physical prototypes are demonstrated. Additionally, shape factors are developed for these compliant arrays (CAs) to facilitate material selection for the panels and understand how the geometry of the array changes the effective properties of the panel. The second part of this work describes and demonstrates several concepts of curved-crease origami and developable surfaces that can benefit mechanism and structure design, particularly in the context of rolling-contact mechanisms. The design of a rolling-contact joint connected by flexible bands similar to a Jacob's Ladder toy is extended through incorporating curved creases into the design. The resulting design is deployable from a compact state to a functional state and can be manufactured from a single plane and folded into shape. Mathematical formulations are presented to describe the classes of developable surfaces in terms of properties which are frequently important in mechanism design. These natural equations for a single class of developable surface are conducive to modeling the folding motion of rigid-ruling developables, developables whose ruling lines do change location in a surface during folding. These formulations are used to generalize the design of rolling-contact joints to a family of joints capable of single degree of freedom spatial motions, being manufactured from a plane, and exhibiting a tailorable force response. Finally practical design suggestions for the implementation of rolling-contact joints is given. These include methodology to create sunken flexures which serve to increase the normal force between rolling bodies to prevent slip.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





developable, curved folding, origami, deployable