Folding as a Mechanism of 3D Shape Formation in Thin Elastic Sheets
Folding a sheet of paper along a curve can lead to structures seen in decorative art and utilitarian packing boxes. Here we present a theory for the simplest such structure : an annular circular strip that is folded along a central circular curve to form a three-dimensional buckled structure driven by geometrical frustration. We quantify this shape in terms of the radius of the circle, the dihedral angle of the fold and the mechanical properties of the sheet of paper and the fold itself. When the sheet is isometrically deformed everywhere except along the fold itself, stiff folds result in creases with constant curvature and oscillatory torsion. However, relatively softer folds inherit the broken symmetry of the buckled shape with oscillatory curvature and torsion. Our asymptotic analysis of the isometrically deformed state is corroborated by numerical simulations which allow us to generalize our analysis to study multiply folded structures. We extend our single fold model to construct kinematical relations for pleated structures, where geometrical constraints are derived as recursive relations to build the surface from valley to mountain.