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Foldable structures made of hydrogel bilayers

1 Computer Science Department, University of Verona, Strada le Grazie 15, 37134 Verona - Italy
2 SISSA - International School for Advanced Studies, via Bonomea 265, 34136 Trieste - Italy

We discuss self-folding of a thin sheet by using patterned hydrogel bilayers, which act as hinges connecting flat faces. Folding is actuated by heterogeneous swelling due to different crosslinking densities of the polymer network in the two layers. Our analysis is based on a dimensionally reduced plate model, obtained by applying a recently developed theory [1], which provides us with an explicit connection between (three-dimensional) material properties and the curvatures induced at the hinges. This connection offers a recipe for the fabrication and design of the bilayers, by providing the values of the cross-linking density of each layer that need to be imprinted during polymerization in order to produce a desired folded shape upon swelling.

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© 2018 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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