The sail folding

The MFPP folding

Early in the 80's, U3P developped it's own concept of solar sail. The MFPP, Mouvement Français des Plieurs de Papier (French Movement of Paper Folders), was contacted, and proposed the folowing solution to fold the sail .

> Quicktime movies of the deployment : computer simulation, and zero-g test of a model.

The "Miura-Ori" folding

This method of folding, invented by the Japanese engineer KM, is one the ways which could be used to fold a solar panel. In particular it allows a particularly simple way of unfolding a piece of paper ( for example a street map ) just by pulling the opposite corners. For a solar panel, there are some other advantages:

  • in the folded configuration, to allow access to the anchorage points that hold the panel flat

  • to help with the manufacture of the panel: it would be possible to assemble a panel with a large surface area by adding sections folded in concertina fashion following Miura's principles. Otherwise to fold a 40 metre square panel - such as a parachute - would need an area of at least as big.

  • to avoid the damage to the intersection points - those points where two folding axes cross - and so that it does not foul as it is unfolded

  • the folded panel is organised in a regular fashion and can be stored in a parallelogram shape

Question: It is not yet known if it would be possible to automate this kind of folding ...

Secial thanks to Mike Houghton ( ), and Bruce Haley
( ) for their help in translating these pages.

Choose an undamaged piece of paper with sides in the ratio 5 to 7( for example A3 )

Fold the paper parallel to its longest side in the proportion 2/5 to 3/5

Redo those four folds backwards, creasing the paper both ways.

Then fold lengthwise in the proportions 3/7 to 4/7.

Crease at an angle of about 10 degrees.

Fold again to make a parallelogram ...

and continue in concertina fashion.

Next page ...

Union pour la Promotion de la Propulsion Photonique
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Updated July 2007

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