Origami Metamaterials Could Soften Impact Forces for Cars and Spacecraft

University of Washington researchers have developed a metamaterial that uses “folding creases” to soften impact forces, and instead promote forces that relax stresses. The novel solution could have potential applications in spacecraft, cars, and more. “Metamaterials are like Legos. You can make all types of structures by repeating a single type of building block, or unit cell as we call it,” says Jinkyu Yang, UW associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics. The team's unit cell prototypes are made out of paper that connect together to form a chain.