Mechanics of smart origami sunscreens with energy harvesting ability

Raffaele Miranda, Enrico Babilio, Narinder Singh, Filipe Santos, Fernando Fraternali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies have investigated the use of origami sunscreens with tensegrity architecture for the design of active solar façades of energy efficient buildings. This paper presents a mechanical study on the dynamic response of shading screens that are formed by origami panels activated trough the tensioning and relaxation of selected strings. The basic module of the examined screens includes tensegrity units with displacement amplification properties that are equipped with piezoelectric cables. A numerical procedure for the simulation of the dynamic response of the examined sunscreens under arbitrary loading is formulated. The proposed model is employed to study the actuation motion exhibited by the elementary origami module, and its vibrations under the action of wind forces. The peculiar ability of tensegrity shading systems to harvest the mechanical energy stored in the strings is investigated, by drawing comparison with the energy harvesting abilities of photovoltaic panels and microeolic turbines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103503
JournalMechanics Research Communications
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Dynamic solar façades
  • Energy efficient buildings
  • Energy harvesting
  • Tensegrity structures


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