Fold-In - Folding Innovations: Basics, Design, Applications, Visions

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Project State




Folded designs which have their analogy in biologic systems like leaves and foldable insect wings represent an established principle in nature to reinforce thin structures or to reduce pack sizes. For example, the stiffness of many plant leaves, such as palm trees, is efficiently increased by folds and insect wings can accomplish complex motions based on reversible folding mechanisms.

The technical potential of these principles - both flexible and fixed – with regard to material saving and efficiency of light-weight constructions is however, by far not fully exploited in engineering applications. A conversion of these principles to technical applications may be found in building part, corrugated paper, implants, convertible soft tops or space telescopes.


The aim of the project „Fold-In – Folding Innovations: Basics, Design, Applications, Visions“is on the one hand to determine the technical and economic potential of folded structures and on the other hand to develop a basis for the design of these structures.



For this purpose, existing folddesigns in the natural sciences and various technical disciplines are analysed and the theoretical foundations are incorporated. Subsequently, simulation models are developed for a geometrical and mechanical description of these structures. Based on the results an adapted synthesis method will be generated. The establishing of foldpatterns in novel applications and thus the development of new markets through adapted manufacturing processes is thus possible.


Institute of Geometry and Applied Mathematics (de)
Chair of Structures and Structural Design
Institute of Applied Mechanics
Institute of Textile Technology and Chair for Textile Machinery
Department of Continuum Mechanics
Institute of Metal Forming
School of Business and Economics
Department of Applied Medical Engineering


The research project was funded by the Boost Fund Initiative of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.