Origami-inspired foldable sound barrier designs

Xiang Yu, Hongbin Fang, Fangsen Cui, Li Cheng, Zhenbo Lu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Conventional sound barriers are constrained by fixed geometry which results in many limitations. In this research, origami, the paper folding technique, is exploited as a platform to design deployable and reconfigurable sound barriers, as well as to actively tailor the attenuation performance. As a proof of concept, a three-dimensional barrier structure is constructed based upon Miura-ori unit cells, whose shape can be significantly altered via folding with a single degree of freedom. Folding also generates periodic corrugations on the origami sheets, which can be exploited as backing cavities to form resonant sound absorbers with a micro-perforated membrane. The absorption performance of the constructed absorber and the insertion loss of the origami barrier are investigated using both numerical and experimental tools. The proposed origami barrier involves two fundamental mechanisms: sound reflection and absorption, and the origami offers unique tunability to enrich both mechanisms owing to the folding-induced geometric evolutions. Specifically, the sound reflection effect can be effectively tuned via changing the acoustic shadow zone and the diffracted sound paths by folding, and the sound absorption effect can also be regulated by altering the depth/shape of the backing cavities during folding. Overall, the results of this research offer fundamental insights into how folding would affect the acoustic performance and open up new opportunities for designing innovative origami-inspired acoustic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-526
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Sound and Vibration
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2019


  • Insertion loss
  • Micro-perforated membrane
  • Origami structure
  • Shape-morphing
  • Sound barrier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Mechanical Engineering

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