Issue 40, 2021

Adhesion directed capillary origami


Capillary origami takes advantage of the surface forces of a liquid drop to assemble thin film structures. After a structure is assembled, the drop then evaporates away. The transient nature of the liquid drop means that the creation of dry and stable structures is impossible. Work presented in this paper shows that adhesion is, in fact, a key tool that enables the creation of stable, complex, capillary assembled origami structures, rather than a problem to be avoided. Here, polydimethylsiloxane thin films were used in several simple experiments designed to identify the balance between substrate–film adhesion and film–film adhesion in the context of capillary assembly. We then demonstrate how directional adhesion can be used to direct film peeling in order to create non-trivial patterned folds after a fluid drop is deposited. A minimal complex structure, a “double-fold” was created to demonstrate how adhesion uniquely facilitates multiple-step capillary assembly. Finally, a familiar “origami airplane” was created with these methods, demonstrating that adhesion aided capillary origami can be used to assemble complex, functional structures.

Graphical abstract: Adhesion directed capillary origami

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
05 Aug 2021
20 Sep 2021
First published
22 Sep 2021

Soft Matter, 2021,17, 9170-9180

Author version available

Adhesion directed capillary origami

T. Twohig and A. B. Croll, Soft Matter, 2021, 17, 9170 DOI: 10.1039/D1SM01142A

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