This is a material test I completed last semester in 2021 FA. Due to the material properties of metal, the strength and the resistance of the metal piece will get improved at the folding edge. Why? Because once we fold the metal, the small molecules along the fold line will produce dislocations due to extrusion.1
Just imagine, there are many small balls lying regularly. Between two balls, there is a line that grabs the ball and secures the ball’s location. When you fold the metal sheet, all the tiny balls on the inner side will squeeze together, so the distance between two balls becomes shorter (it is like getting more dense). The outer side goes opposite. In that case, you will find that it is almost impossible to flatten the metal piece back by using your hands.
So, I start with folding the metal sheet by my hands. I fold the metal, and flatten it. I notice that even the metal sheet is flattened again, there’s still a fold mark on the surface. The fold mark is like the unbreakable skeleton on the metal sheet.
The metal folding remains me of paper folding. I try to fold the paper first and then repeat the process on metal sheet. By looking at the photos, you can easily tell the differences between paper folding and metal folding. There are some limitation of metal that stops the metal sheet going further.
Instead of making a specific object, I decide to focus on one single repeating pattern. I found this interesting pattern online.
I change the direction of the curve and try to do the same thing on metal. However, it is too complicated for metal to complete the process.
Thus, I simplify the pattern and test on the metal sheet. It transfers successfully! And the metallic appearance brings a different feeling.
I made three of them and overlap them together. The metal sheets I use are thin aluminum sheets which could be folded easily by hand. Also because of the fold, the sculptural object is able to stand independently. It can even be seated by rotating 90 degree and putting it down on the ground! Now it becomes a cool bench!
- Author: Mark Miodownik. 《Stuff Matters( Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World)》. Published by HoughtonMifflin. Chapter1: Indomitable. Page 19.