Self-Folding Paper

June 25, 2017
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Transformable polymer composite paper

Self-Folding Paper is a paper surface that transforms when heated, automatically generating intricate multidimensional structures. Labeled thermocatalytic metafolds by mechanical engineer Ata Sina, who developed the technology at the University of British Columbia, the shape-shifting material is created by first making small computer-driven cuts and creases in a sheet of paper. Thermoplastic polymers are attached to the precut and precreased paper, which is then inserted into an oven at a temperature of 230 degrees F (110 degrees Celsius) for ten to twenty seconds. As the polymers heat up, they shrink and lift the paper into various angles, turning it into a predetermined three-dimensional shape.

Sina declares that Self-Folding Paper will transform the packaging industry, because folded paper is light, strong, inexpensive, and more environmentally friendly than typical plastic packing materials. Other potential applications include noise and heat insulation, folding beds, step stools, toys, and do-it-yourself pop-up books.

Contact: Joaters, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

For more information, see Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future

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