Origami-based approaches for the folding of thick materials for specific application to large deployable space arrays is explored in this work. The folding approaches presented utilize strain energy, spatial kinematics, membranes, compliant mechanisms, and or in combination together to fold finite-thickness materials viewed through the lens of origami-based engineering. Novel architectures and behaviors of mechanisms are developed to achieve packaging efficiency, deployment, and self-stiffening. A method for the folding of monolithic thick-sheet materials is developed by incorporating compliant mechanisms into the material itself to strategically add degrees of freedom. The design and characterization of the compliant mechanisms with consideration to stress, material selection, and stiffness is given. Other folding approaches developed include a bistable vertex and a double-membrane method.The folding approaches derived are applied to larger tessellations and folding patterns. The fold patterns developed and used lend themselves well to large reconfiguration and the combination of the folding approaches with the patterns create opportunities to fabricate products out of thick, functional materials. Of specific interest is the application of these approaches and patterns to the field of deployable space arrays. Spatial kinematics, computational dynamics, physical tests, and systems engineering are used to develop an array architecture that is self-deployable, self-stiffening, and retractable. This architecture is shown to open the design space of large deployable arrays by increasing packaging efficiency and mass.The method, approaches, and architectures developed by this dissertation contribute to the fields origami-based engineering and deployable space arrays. While a focus of this work is the advancement of space technologies, the depth of the analyses provided are transferable to other origami-based and compliant-mechanism disciplines.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





origami-based design, space structures, space arrays, compliant mechanisms, strained joint method, folding, tessellations, NASA