4D fibrous materials: characterising the deployment of paper architectures

Manu C. Mulakkal, Annela M. Seddon, George Whittell, Ian Manners, Richard S. Trask

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12 Citations (SciVal)


Deployment of folded paper architecture using a fluid medium as the morphing stimulus presents a simple and inexpensive methodology capable of self-actuation; where the underlying principles can be translated to develop smart fibrous materials capable of programmable actuations. In this study we characterise different paper architectures and their stimuli mechanisms for folded deployment; including the influence of porosity, moisture, surfactant concentration, temperature, and hornification. We observe that actuation time decreases with paper grammage; through the addition of surfactants, and when the temperature is increased at the fluid-vapour interface. There is a clear effect of hydration, water transport and the interaction of hydrogen bonds within the fibrous architecture which drives the deployment of the folded regions. The importance of fibre volume fraction and functional fillers in shape recovery was also observed, as well as the effect of a multilayer composite paper system. The design guidelines shown here will inform the development of synthetic fibrous actuators for repeated deployment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number095052
JournalSmart Materials and Structures
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2016


  • 4D materials
  • composite morphing
  • origami
  • self-actuation


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