A recent development was registered in the study of self-folding materials that provides the researchers with a completely new level of control on the sequence in which joints get folded. Michael Dickey, a chemical and biomolecular engineering professor from the North Carolina State University, says, “A longstanding challenge in the field has been finding a way to control the sequence in which a 2-D sheet will fold itself into a 3-D object. As anyone who has done origami – or folded their laundry – can tell you the order in which you make the folds can be extremely important.”
The made use of a complete simple procedure that was first developed by Dickey and his teammate Jan Genzer in year 2011. These two researchers ran prestressed flat plastic sheets via an inkjet printer. Once placed into the printer, these prestressed plastic sheet seams were layered with a bold black ink layer. Once dried, these sheets were kept in light, as black ink began absorbing energy from light; the seams began bending leading to formation of a 3D structure from a sheet that was first flat.
In their recent research, Dickey, along with his colleagues, added a complete series of various colored inks in their experiment which allows the artist to control the sequence in which a sheet folds according to the quantity of energy that absorbs color from a source of light. They recently published their results. Dickey adds, “This is a proof-of-concept paper, but it opens the door to a range of potential applications using a simple and inexpensive process. Ultimately, people are interested in self-assembling structures for multiple reasons, from shipping things things in a flat package and having them assembles on site to having devices self-assemble in ‘clean’ environments for medical or electronic applications.”
In near future. Whether color-coded or not, this kind of hinges will be very popular for folding solar cells, product packaging, as well as manufacturing all of which need better folding methods. There is something very charming about the concept of a facility filed with structures that fold on their own after absorbing light.
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