The objective of this paper is to show the development of a compact, self-deploying array based on the tapered map fold. The tapered map fold was modified by applying an elastic membrane to one side of the array and adequately spacing the panels adjacent to valley folds. Through this approach, the array can be folded into a fully dense volume when stowed. The panels are dimensioned to account for the panel thickness when folded, which otherwise would prevent the model from reaching a fully dense form.
The folding motion is achieved by creating a rigid-foldable model of the origami-inspired crease pattern. The paper discusses a variety of approaches for creating rigid origami from the map fold, including pleat hinges and spacer panels. The tapered map fold is rigid-foldable through the incorporation of tapered spacer panels. By choosing appropriate values for the angles and tapered spacer panel dimensions, the tapered map fold is fully dense when stowed. The tapered spacer panels also enable the model to have a single degree of freedom of actuation. Stored strain energy in the elastic membrane enables self-actuation of the model. Applying a membrane also simplifies fabrication of the array.
Potential applications for the array include a collapsible solar array, or other military or backpacking applications.