Bio-inspired origami metamaterials with metastable phases through mechanical phase transitions

Ke Liu, Tomohiro Tachi, Glaucio H. Paulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Structural instability, once a catastrophic phenomenon to be avoided in engineering applications, is being harnessed to improve functionality of structures and materials, and has been a catalyst of substantial research in the field. One important application is to create functional metamaterials that deform their internal structure to adjust performance, resembling phase transformations in natural materials. In this paper, we propose a novel origami pattern, named the Shrimp pattern, with application to multi-phase architected metamaterials whose phase transition is achieved mechanically by snap-through. The Shrimp pattern consists of units that can be easily tessellated in two dimensions, either periodically with homogeneous local geometry or non-periodically with heterogeneous local geometries. We can use a few design parameters to program the unit cell to become either monostable or tune the energy barrier between the bistable states. By tessellating these unit cells into an architected metamaterial, we can create complex yet navigable energy landscapes, leading to multiple metastable phases of the material. As each phase has different geometries, the metamaterial can switch between different mechanical properties and shapes. The geometric origin of the multi-stable behavior implies that, conceptually, our designs are scale-independent, making them candidates for a variety of innovative applications, including reprogramable materials, reconfigurable acoustic waveguides, and microelectronic mechanical systems and energy storage systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number091002
JournalJournal of Applied Mechanics, Transactions ASME
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Elasticity
  • Mechanical properties of materials
  • Metamaterials
  • Origami
  • Structures


Dive into the research topics of 'Bio-inspired origami metamaterials with metastable phases through mechanical phase transitions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this