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Title: Thin-walled tubes with pre-folded origami patterns as energy absorption devices
Author: Ma, Jiayao
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This dissertation is concerned with a type of energy absorption device made of thin-walled tubes. The tubes will undergo plastic deformation when subjected to an impact loading, and therefore absorb kinetic energy. It has been found that, if the surface of a tube is pre-folded according to an origami pattern, the failure mode of the tube can be altered, leading to a noticeable increase in energy absorption while at the same time, reducing the force needed to initiate plastic deformation within the tube. The main work is presented in four parts. First of all, an experimental study of a type of previously reported thin-walled square tube with pre-manufactured pyramid patterns on the surface has been conducted. Quasi-static axial crushing tests show that the octagonal mode, although numerically proven to be efficient in terms of energy absorption, cannot be consistently triggered. Secondly, a new type of thin-walled tubular energy absorption device, known as the origami tube, which has origami pattern pre-fabricated on the surface, has been studied. A family of origami patterns has been designed for tubes with different profiles. The performances of a series of origami tubes with various configurations subjected to quasi-static axial crushing have been investigated numerically. It is found that a new failure mode, referred to as the complete diamond mode, can be triggered, and both over 50% increase in the mean crushing force and about 30% reduction in the peak force can be achieved in a single tube design in comparison with those of a conventional square tube with identical surface area and wall thickness. A theoretical study of the axial crushing of square origami tubes has been conducted and a mathematical formula has been derived to calculate the mean crushing force. Comparison between theoretical prediction and numerical results shows a good agreement. Quasi-static axial crushing experiments on several square origami tube samples have been carried out. The results show that the complete diamond mode is formed in the samples and both peak force reduction and mean crushing force increase are attained. Thirdly, a new type of curved thin-walled beam with pre-manufactured origami pattern on the surface, known as the origami beam, has been designed and analyzed. A numerical study of a series of origami beams with a variety of configurations subjected to quasi-static lateral bending has been conducted. The results show that two new failure modes, namely, the longitudinal folding mode and the mixed mode, can be induced, and both reduced peak force and increased energy absorption are achieved. Finally, a number of automobile frontal bumpers, which have the origami tube and the origami beam as key components, have been designed and analyzed. Three impact tests have been conducted on each bumper. The numerical results show that both types of origami structures can perform well in realistic loading scenarios, leading to improved energy absorption of the bumpers.
Supervisor: You, Zhong ; Williams, Martin Sponsor: Clarendon Scholarship ; Jason Hu Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mechanical engineering ; thin-walled tube ; thin-walled beam ; origami pattern ; energy absorption device ; axial crushing ; lateral bending ; finite element analysis