CAREER: Adaptive Origami Structures for Acoustic Wave Guiding

  • Harne, RyanL (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Ability to guide acoustic waves is central to a wide range of applications from cancer treatment to underwater ecosystem monitoring. Acoustic wave guiding techniques are widely used in medical and engineering applications such as ultrasound, sound projection used in public announcement systems, underwater ecosystem monitoring, and several defense applications. The state-of-the-art methods use fixed locations of acoustic transducers and digitally controlled signals to manage their wave guiding ability. These methods often tend to be inaccurate as they suffer from inherent ambiguity in locating virtual source or receiver. This limits their ability to do effective wave guiding. This Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) project will significantly enhance the state-of-the-art in wave guiding capability by innovative use of origami science. The research will investigate reconfigurable and adaptive origami-inspired acoustic transducers that can achieve simple yet highly effective wave guiding. The portability of these origami-inspired transducer arrays will propel new applications in health care, ecosystem monitoring, and defense. This project will make new contributions to the knowledge base in acoustic wave guiding. The project also has significant involvement of students at all levels from elementary to graduate. By harnessing the technical themes of folding origami structures in an integrated research-education program, this CAREER project will redress waning student exposures and interest in acoustics by a multi-faceted initiative that will introduce, immerse, and instill acoustic principles for student groups at many levels.

This CAREER project will establish analytical and computational tools to yield understanding on how origami-inspired, adaptive acoustic structures may transform wave guiding practices. The modeling framework will bridge acoustics, geometry, and mechanics via non-dimensional, spatial Fourier transforms to illuminate linear/nonlinear wave guiding phenomena and enable clear contrast with digital control methods and ideal acoustic radiators/receivers. The experimentally validated framework will reveal correlations among tessellation geometry, folding extent, and wavelength for scale-free wave guiding principles, while contrast between virtual and physical transducer positioning will expose origins of deficiencies in digital wave field control methods and guide attention to prime combinations of origami-inspired and digitally controlled wave guiding. A reversal of the framework will enable the design tessellated arrays for desired acoustic wave guiding properties, and will broadly advance multiphysics optimization of folding structures.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date9/1/1811/30/20


  • National Science Foundation: $500,000.00


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