Light yet strong metamaterial inspired by art of paper cutting

A chequerboard pattern based on kirigami, the Japanese art of paper cutting, enables thin and light structures to support much heavier loads

Technology 1 March 2022

A metamaterial inspired by kirigami, the Japanese art of paper cutting, can support nearly 3000 times its own weight.

Metamaterials have structures not found in nature, which can give them unusual characteristics such as high strength under load.

Zhang Hongying at the National University of Singapore and Jamie Paik at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne designed an interlocking kirigami pattern for paper that forms a thin shell of alternating squares. The shell can be bent into three-dimensional shapes using a computer model the pair created.

“The repeating chequerboard pattern allows us to distribute the load overall,” says Paik. …

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