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Multistable inflatables for meter scale reconfigurable structures

Very popular among children in the form of party balloons, inflatables have also been employed in science and engineering to enable the design of a variety of systems, including temporary shelters, airbags, soft robots, and shape-morphing structures. In general, the targeted shape of the fully pressurized structure is preprogrammed prior to inflation and there is a one-to-one relation between the deflated and inflated shape. In this talk, we introduce a design strategy based on multistability to realize inflatables that can support a variety of shapes in the inflated state. We first gain an understanding of the physics governing the response of our inflatables through experiments and analyses. Then, since the phenomenon is scale-independent and only relies on inextensible elastic membranes, we use the proposed principles to build deployable and reconfigurable furniture.

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