Integration of origami and deployable concept in volumetric modular units

Valentina Beatini, Gatheeshgar Perampalam, Heshachanaa Rajanayagam, Keerthan Poologanathan, Thadshajini Suntharalingam, Dilini Perera, Elilarasi Kanthasamy, Brabha Nagaratnam

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Modular building systems (MBS) and Origami are two emerging methods used in current construction practice. Origami is directly associated with the principles of the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, characterised by high morphological possibilities and ultimately creates foldable structures with tuneable mechanical properties. However, there is a lack of knowledge on the structural behaviour of origami for architectural engineering applications. MBS is a volumetric prefabricated construction technique enhancing productivity in construction. In this paper, a modular unit is designed which employs origami techniques. The roof and floor panels of the modular units formed with steel joists were substituted with origami sandwich panels, while corner posts were substituted with origami columns. The origami-like foldable system demonstrated superior efficiency in constructability, being highly compact during transportation and requiring few operations for the in-situ installation. The structural performances of the developed and foldable modular units were assessed through finite element analysis. It was found that, without increasing the self-weight of the system, the design of origami-like modular units can be tuned for high structural performances and various structural sizes, which can impact the usability of space and the aesthetics of architecture. While this is a preliminary study and physical testing is needed, the positive results open the possibility of exploring highly deployable modular structures of novel shapes that can be employed during post-disaster and emergencies (Covid-19).

Original languageEnglish
Article number19180
Number of pages11
JournalNature Scientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge Aarhus University, Teesside University, and Northumbria University for the technical support and research facilities.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Crown.


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