Self-folding is an effective method for creating 3D shapes from flat sheets. In particular, shape memory composites - laminates containing shape memory polymers - have been used to self-fold complex structures and machines. To date, however, these composites have been limited to feature sizes larger than one centimeter. We present a new shape memory composite capable of folding millimeter-scale features. This technique can be activated by a global heat source for simultaneous folding, or by resistive heaters for sequential folding. It is capable of feature sizes ranging from 0.5 to 40 mm, and is compatible with multiple laminate compositions. We demonstrate the ability to produce complex structures and mechanisms by building two self-folding pieces: a model ship and a model bumblebee.
- laminate mechanisms
- shape memory
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Mechanics of Materials
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials