Origami allows for novel approaches to the design of morphing structures. This paper presents a preliminary study on the analysis and design of a self-folding origami antenna. This preliminary study aims to develop and test novel origami analysis and design approaches for problems in morphing antennas. A parabolic dish antenna is considered. The objective is to design a planar sheet with a pattern of smooth folds (as opposed to creased folds generally encountered in the origami literature) that can fold via active material actuation towards the parabolic antenna shape. In the presented process, a mesh discretization of the parabolic shape is first determined. Subsequently, an origami design tool previously developed by the authors is utilized to obtain a planar sheet with a pattern of smooth folds that allows for folding towards the meshed parabolic shape. An origami structural analysis method is then used to simulate the shape memory alloy (SMA) actuation-driven folding of the determined sheet design from the planar reference configuration towards the parabolic configuration. The mesh discretization of the parabolic shape is parameterized and various discretizations are tested and compared considering certain performance outputs. The preliminary results presented here demonstrate the feasibility of active material-based origami in the development of morphing antennas.

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