Origami multistability: from single vertices to metasheets

Phys Rev Lett. 2015 Feb 6;114(5):055503. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.114.055503. Epub 2015 Feb 4.


We show that the simplest building blocks of origami-based materials-rigid, degree-four vertices-are generically multistable. The existence of two distinct branches of folding motion emerging from the flat state suggests at least bistability, but we show how nonlinearities in the folding motions allow generic vertex geometries to have as many as five stable states. In special geometries with collinear folds and symmetry, more branches emerge leading to as many as six stable states. Tuning the fold energy parameters, we show how monostability is also possible. Finally, we show how to program the stability features of a single vertex into a periodic fold tessellation. The resulting metasheets provide a previously unanticipated functionality-tunable and switchable shape and size via multistability.