Hidden symmetries generate rigid folding mechanisms in periodic origami

Authors: James McInerney, Bryan Gin-ge Chen, Louis Theran, Chris Santangelo, and Zeb Rocklin
Preprint: 2003.01095, 2020
Full text: arXiv

We consider the zero-energy deformations of periodic origami sheets with generic crease patterns. Using a mapping from the linear folding motions of such sheets to force-bearing modes in conjunction with the Maxwell-Calladine index theorem we derive a relation between the number of linear folding motions and the number of rigid body modes that depends only on the average coordination number of the origami’s vertices. This supports the recent result by Tachi which shows periodic origami sheets with triangular faces exhibit two-dimensional spaces of rigidly foldable cylindrical configurations. We also find, through analytical calculation and numerical simulation, branching of this configuration space from the flat state. The same counting argument leads to pairing of spatially varying modes at opposite wavenumber in triangulated origami, preventing topological polarization but permitting a family of zero energy deformations in the bulk that may be used to reconfigure the origami sheet.