WASHINGTON, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Researchers from University of Washington developed a kind of origami-inspired material to reduce impact forces, which can be used in car accident protection.
The study published on Friday in the journal Science Advances described a paper model that uses "folding creases" to soften impact forces.
The building block of the material are made out of paper and the researchers used a laser cutter to cut dotted lines into paper to designate where to fold.
They folded the paper along the lines to form a cylindrical structure and glued acrylic caps on either end to connect the cells into a long chain, according to the study.
The researchers lined up 20 unit cells and connected one end to a device that pushed and set off a reaction throughout the chain.
Using six GoPro cameras, the team observed the counter-intuitive wave motion that replaced pushing force at one end completely with pulling back force at the other end.
"If you were wearing a football helmet made of this material and something hit the helmet, you'd never feel that hit on your head," Yang Jinkyu, the paper's corresponding author and associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at University of Washington, said in a statement. "By the time the energy reaches you, it's no longer pushing. It's pulling."
"Impact is a problem we encounter on a daily basis, and our system provides a completely new approach to reducing its effects," Yang said.