Chinese researchers create origami-inspired self-folding graphene paper

By @Guneet_B on
Robot convention
A robot is pictured at the scientists congress IROS 2015 in Hamburg, Germany October 2, 2015.The robot congress is organized by TAMS group (Technical Aspects of Multimodal Systems) of Hamburg's university. Reuters/Fabian Bimmer

Taking the art of origami to another level, a team of researchers at the Donghua University in China has developed an origami-inspired self-folding graphene paper. The specialty of the paper is that it can be controlled and converted into almost every shape without any wired connection.

According to the scientists, the newly designed graphene paper can be folded into anything – from artificial muscles to mini robots. The researchers are hopeful that their self-folding material can be used for a variety of applications.

The researchers further said that heating a sheet of graphene paper could result in a device which is able to move back and forth. For the first time in history, the researchers also demonstrated how the material can also change directions by itself.

Graphene paper is a material which is almost 200 times stronger than steel. Jiuke Mu, one of the inventors of the material, believes that it can be used to create modern-day applications including wireless robots and artificial muscles. In addition, the material could be useful for tissue engineering.

"In the near future, it even could bring changes to people's lives," said Mu, in an interview with Live Science, "which could change its shape and style in response to body temperature, environmental changes or other gentle stimulations.”

According to the researchers, the self-folding property of the graphene paper is based on its specially treating sections. These sections are able to absorb water vapour from the atmosphere naturally.

Upon heating, the absorbed water is released, which in turn causes the section to shrink and bend. The entire process is reversed when heating is stopped. Using the same property, the researchers have been able to create an artificial hand that can hold objects, a walking device and a self-assembling box.

The invention of the material has been reported in the journal Science Advances.

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