Origami engineering has been on the rise recently, seen in things like solar panels and now in this zippered tube -- the ancient Japanese art is getting a serious revival. Three engineers who revisited this type of design discovered a way to make a paper structure that is two orders of magnitude stronger than the original material -- the zippered tube.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the design is based on the folds discovered by astrophysicist Kroyo Miura that compact a piece of paper as much as possible. Essentially, an accordion-like piece of paper, the design is commonplace now. However, the zippered tube multiplies it to create tubes that form a honey comb-like structure that can be folded flat but also hold a large amount of weight when expanded.
This engineering innovation will transform the design of bridges, buildings and even spacecrafts. It will help any type of shipping process or company deliver more things in a more compact method.