Cut or No Cut: Algorithm for 2D-to-3D Engineering Integrates Art, Nature and Science

The team’s work takes inspiration from kirigami, an East Asian papercutting art, to create a mathematically sound method of cutting and stacking flat materials into durable curved objects.

The advance addresses a longstanding blind spot at the intersection of mechanical engineering and materials science: Hardwearing materials with high mechanical integrity lose strength when manipulated into three-dimensional (3D) forms. Materials manufacturing favors 2D forms for easy fabrication. The necessity of 2D-to-3D transformation presents challenges. Cuts are necessary to avoid wrinkles and overfolds in the final 3D curved objects. In other words, material-weakening defects are unavoidable.