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    Origami Structures: from shopping bags to sandwich composite plates and shells

    Dr. Zhong You, University of Oxford Department of Engineering Science

    In recent decades origami folding, a traditional Japanese art form of paper folding, has been of increasing interest to mathematicians and engineers. Mathematicians are more interested in the geometrical aspects of origami objects such as foldability of origami patterns, especially foldability of developable surfaces. Engineers, on the other hand, are finding that traditional geometry and folding used for artistic paper models can be readily parameterised and applied to the development of new structures and devices. Since most of the sheet materials used in engineering applications are relatively rigid in comparison with paper, particular attention has been drawn on to rigid origami, a subset of origami that permit continuous motion between folded states along the pre-determined folding creases without the need for twisting or stretching of the facets. This allows the patterns to be manufactured from modern materials such as plastic, metal, or carbon-fibre sheets, producing patterns that are sufficiently strong and durable to be of use in large-scale applications.

    In the talk, I shall start with a mathematical problem of folding a rigid shopping bag, followed by a brief introduction on the modelling of origami motions using mechanism theory. I shall then present the concept of the origami crash boxes and beams with potential application for energy absorption structures in transport vehicles. Finally, I shall outline my most recent work on sandwich composite structures with origami core structures.



    1998 – Present: University Lecturer, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, U.K. and Fellow of Magdalen College, University of Oxford (appointment until retirement)

    1997 – 1998 Engineering and Physics Research Council advanced fellow

    1994 – 1997 Research Fellow, Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge

    1991 – 1994 PhD Student, Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge.

    1988 – 1990 Assistant Lecturer and then Lecturer, Institute of Ocean Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, China.

    1985 – 1988 Master Student, Institute of Engineering Mechanics, Dalian University of Technology, China.

    1982 – 1985 Assistant Lecturer, Department of Civil Engineering, Nanchang University, Nanchang, China.

    1978 – 1982 Undergraduate Student, Department of Engineering Mechanics, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China.

    Other positions

    • Editorial board member of IMechE Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science Part C
    • Editorial board member of International Journal of Sustainable Materials and Structural Systems
    • Associate Editor, International Journal of Architecture, Engineering and Construction


    • “Profile” in Science, 332, pp. 1376-1377 (Fig. 1)
    • Selected to participate in the Science Day Exhibition at the Buckingham Palace, 2007 (Fig. 2)
    • Invited to the Techfest 2007, Bombay, India
    • Advances in Structural Engineering best paper award, 2006
    • Global Research Award, Royal Academy of Engineering, 2005
    • Institute of Civil Engineers: James Watt Medal, 2000
    • Shorted listed for a Medical Innovation Award 2003
    • Selected to participate in the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, 2005


    Dr. Zhong You

    Department of Engineering Science

    University of Oxford

    Parks Road

    Oxford, OX1 3PJ, UK

    Phone: +44 1865 273137

    Fax: +44 1865 283301

    E-mail: zhong.you@eng.ox.ac.uk

    Web: http://www-civil.eng.ox.ac.uk/people/zy

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