Folded Structures Lab

Research Group at the University of Queensland

Folded Fabrication

Manufacture and Assembly of Folded Sheets

Folded Composite and Hybrid Materials

Novel folded fabrication processes have been developed for fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite and FRP-timber hybrid materials. The cured-in-place manufacturing process utilises a differential curing time between two types of resins impregnated in a glass-fibre sheet. A 24-hour slow-cure resin is used on crease lines and a 3-hour fast-cure resin is used on panel regions. The 2D sheet is folded into a 3D section between the fast-cure and slow-cure periods, when panel regions are rigid while hinge regions remain flexible. Further information: Paper 1, Paper 2.

Folded Steel Structures

Novel folded assembly methods were developed for conventional thin-walled steel construction, based on the utilisation of parametric and digitally-fabricated hinge lines. The folded steel structures were benchmarked in terms of their assembly effort, manufacturing accuracy, and structural performance. Manufacturing accuracy was assessed with 3D digital image correlation and 3D scanning, showing a folded assembly method to be accurate to within 50% of plate thickness with assembly by unskilled persons. Structural performance under uniaxial compressive load was assessed with experimental and numerical analyses, with consistent predictions showing that conventional thin-walled steel analysis techniques were sufficient to model folded structure behaviours. Further information: DOI:10.1016/j.jcsr.2017.07.010.

Folded Sandwich Structures

A new type of structural form has been developed that enables ultra-light sandwich constructions at architectural scales. They are termed folded sandwich structures and are created by attaching faceted inner and/or outer face sheets to a folded plate core pattern. The faceted faces provide two major benefits over traditional curved-face sandwich construction: they enable strong, continuous edge connections between core and face layers; and they allow unbent, rigid sheet materials such as metals and composites to be assembled into complex curved geometries. Further information: Further information: DOI:10.1016/j.autcon.2015.12.002.