Thought Leaders

Characterizing Metamaterials Drawing on Origami

Thought LeadersDr. Hanqing JiangProfessor of Engineering Westlake University

AZoM talks to Professor Hanqing Jiang about his research relating to the characterization of metamaterials based on the properties of origami and kirigami. 

Please can you introduce yourself, your background, and how you began researching mechanical metamaterials?

My name is Hanqing Jiang, a professor of Engineering at Westlake University in China. Before joining Westlake University in June 2021, I was a faculty member of Mechanical Engineering at Arizona State University from 2006 to 2021. I was brought to the research area of mechanical metamaterials when my group started working on origami in 2012.

Could you give an example of a ‘metamaterial’?

Metamaterials are artificially engineered materials with unusual properties. Specifically concerning mechanical metamaterials, they are materials with fascinating mechanical properties, such as a negative Poisson’s ratio and tunable stiffness.

What can be achieved with these materials? What industries do they apply to?

These materials can achieve unusual properties, such as tunable compressibility and deployability, which can be applied to many industrial sectors, such as robotics, aerospace, and biomechanical applications.

How do origami and kirigami differ?

Origami is paper folding; in Japanese, “ori” means “fold” and “gami” means “paper”. Kirigami is paper cutting; in Japanese, “kiri” means “cut”.

How did a study of metamaterials come to be associated with origami and kirigami?

The properties of origami and kirigami are mainly determined by how the crease patterns are made and just slightly depend on the material that folds the origami. They are by nature mechanical metamaterials.

metamaterials, origami, kirigami, properties

Image Credit: Duet PandG/

Your research divides the metamaterials into two categories based on origami styles. Could you describe how these differentiations were made and why?

Rigid origami (also known as rigid foldable origami) involves folding and unfolding without deforming the origami panels. Deformable origami involves storing energy in both creases and panels during folding, and so it confers a complex energy landscape and mechanical performances.

Paper is typically used to prototype metamaterials. What disadvantages does this method pose and how does your research build on this?

Paper is a good starting point to study origami-based metamaterials. The lesson learned from paper-based origami can be translated into other materials.

More on Metamaterials: Developing a Highly Configurable Metamaterial with 3D Printing

What are the advantages of using origami and kirigami to characterize these materials?

It gives advantages in tuning the mechanical properties since the folding patterns can be altered based on the specific applications.

How could new origami and kirigami, particularly curved, hybrid, modular, and hierarchical designs, influence the future of different industries?

Metamaterials could be used in many applications, such as robotics, aerospace engineering, and biomedical applications. The beauty of origami and kirigami is that there are many combinations to incorporate geometrical patterns to specific applications in different length scales. It can be readily tailored for different applications.

What are the next steps for this subject matter? Do you hope to conduct further research around biofortification with nanotechnology?

The most exciting aspect of this research to me is curved origami, which provides a new dimension to tailor their mechanical properties. We are very interested in origami-based robotics and biomedical applications, which is indeed one of my active research areas at Westlake University.

Where can readers find more information?

This is a webinar I recently gave:

About Professor Hanqing Jiang

I am a professor of engineering at Westlake University in China. Before joining Westlake University in June 2021, I was a faculty member of Mechanical Engineering at Arizona State University from 2006 to 2021. I received his Ph.D. from Tsinghua University in 2001, majoring in Solid Mechanics. My current research interests include origami and kirigami-based mechanical metamaterials, mechanics of lithium-metal batteries, and unconventional electronics. I was elected to an ASME Fellow in 2016. I am the newly elected vice president of the Society of Engineering Science and will be the president of SES in 2022. He is a member of the executive committee of the Materials Division of ASME and will be the chair of this committee in 2025.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

Skyla Baily

Written by

Skyla Baily

Skyla graduated from the University of Manchester with a BSocSc Hons in Social Anthropology. During her studies, Skyla worked as a research assistant, collaborating with a team of academics, and won a social engagement prize for her dissertation. With prior experience in writing and editing, Skyla joined the editorial team at AZoNetwork in the year after her graduation. Outside of work, Skyla’s interests include snowboarding, in which she used to compete internationally, and spending time discovering the bars, restaurants and activities Manchester has to offer!


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Baily, Skyla. (2021, November 29). Characterizing Metamaterials Drawing on Origami. AZoM. Retrieved on January 26, 2022 from

  • MLA

    Baily, Skyla. "Characterizing Metamaterials Drawing on Origami". AZoM. 26 January 2022. <>.

  • Chicago

    Baily, Skyla. "Characterizing Metamaterials Drawing on Origami". AZoM. (accessed January 26, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Baily, Skyla. 2021. Characterizing Metamaterials Drawing on Origami. AZoM, viewed 26 January 2022,

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this article?

Leave your feedback