Creating New Glass Shapes Using the Art of Origami

The ancient art of origami has influenced contemporary practices from design to engineering to science and space travel. The practice has always been limited to soft, foldable materials like paper or fabric, but Yang Xu (a graduate student who works at Xie’s lab at Zhejiang University) devised a way to apply this technique to glass and other rigid materials. Xu combined silica nanoparticles (an important component of glass) with a multi-substance liquid and cured it under ultraviolet radiation, creating a cross-linked polycaprolactone polymer that acts like paper. After folding and twisting and rounds of heating and cooling, the material holds it shape and cools to a transparent, complex structure. The technique—which can be used in conjunction with 3D printing—can be used to create new exciting designs and sculptures. Learn more at Interesting Engineering.

Image courtesy of Yang Xu