Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Member

Dr. Suyi Li, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Gang Li

Committee Member

Dr. Cameron Turner


Engineering applications of origami are gaining momentum in the recent decades. These applications range from nano-scale biomedical devices to large architectural and aerospace structures. Motivated by the rich kinematic behavior due to folding, the concept of fluidic origami was proposed as a versatile actuator. The idea is to seal deformable cylinders based on the origami patterns and apply pressure to achieve shape morphing and actuation. However, previous research relied on an idealistic kinematic model, which assumes that origami facets are rigid and have zero thickness so that the folding deformation is concentrated at the hinge-like creases. To address this issue, this research incorporates realistic material models into the design, analysis, and fabrication of fluidic origami. Based on the origami design principles, a realistic CAD model of finite facet thickness is developed considering parameters for achieving manufacturing feasibility. To analyze the kinematic behavior and to measure the performance of the actuator, finite element analysis (FEA) simulations are conducted based on the realistic CAD model. Free stroke and block force are used as the actuator performance metrics. In parallel, 3D printing technologies are explored to fabricate the actuators and validate experimentally the FEA simulations and the physical principles of fluidic origami. Further, the origami design and manufacturing parameters are optimized using a multi-objective optimization strategy to maximize the actuator's performance. The results of the optimization generate a set of pareto-optimal design points from which design selection can be made to achieve desired performance. A pareto optimal design with a neutral trade-off of objectives, generated a normalized block force of 1.29 and a strain of 100% when subjected to a pressure of 34 kPa. The research focuses on the origami pattern of miura-ori design due to its 1-DOF kinematic behavior and relative simplicity in design for manufacturing. However, since the origami designs have a similar principle, the research can be easily extended to more complex origami designs. Thus, this research could lead to exploration of a new class of fluidic actuators based on complex origami designs. Further, a variety of applications can also be addressed by exploiting finite facet thickness models of different origami patterns, fabricated using engineering materials.



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