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Origami-inspired material designed to soften impact

Via University of Washington on YouTube:

University of Washington researchers have developed a novel solution to reduce the force of an impact.

Inspired by the paper folding art of origami, the team created a paper model of a metamaterial that uses “folding creases” to soften impact forces and instead promote forces that relax stresses in the chain. A material like this has potential applications in spacecraft, cars and beyond.

“If you were wearing a football helmet made of this material and something hit the helmet, you’d never feel that hit on your head. By the time the energy reaches you, it’s no longer pushing. It’s pulling,” said corresponding author Jinkyu Yang, a UW associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics.

It’s a counterintuitive concept, Yang says, but possible.

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