Design, fabrication, and modeling of an electric-magnetic self-folding sheet

Landen Bowen, Kara Springsteen, Saad Ahmed, Erika Arrojado, Mary Frecker, Timothy W. Simpson, Zoubeida Ounaies, Paris von Lockette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A concept recently proposed by the authors is that of a multifield sheet that folds into several distinct shapes based on the applied field, be it magnetic, electric, or thermal. In this paper, the design, fabrication, and modeling of a multifield bifold are presented, which utilize magneto-active elastomer (MAE) to fold along one axis and an electro-active polymer, P(VDF-TrFE-CTFE) terpolymer, to fold along the other axis. In prior work, a dynamic model of self-folding origami was developed, which approximated origami creases as revolute joints with torsional spring-dampers and simulated the effect of magneto-active materials on origami-inspired designs. In this work, the crease stiffness and MAE models are discussed in further detail, and the dynamic model is extended to include the effect of electro-active polymers (EAP). The accuracy of this approximation is validated using experimental data from a terpolymer-actuated origami design. After adjusting crease stiffness within the dynamic model, it shows good correlation with experimental data, indicating that the developed EAP approximation is accurate. With the capabilities of the dynamic model improved by the EAP approximation method, the multifield bifold can be fully modeled. The developed model is compared to the experimental data obtained from a fabricated multifield bifold and is found to accurately predict the experimental fold angles. This validation of the crease stiffness, MAE, and EAP models allows for more complicated multifield applications to be designed with confidence in their simulated performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021012
JournalJournal of Mechanisms and Robotics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering


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