Kirigami-Inspired Inflatables with Programmable Shapes

Lishuai Jin, Antonio Elia Forte, Bolei Deng, Ahmad Rafsanjani, Katia Bertoldi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Citations (Scopus)


Kirigami, the Japanese art of paper cutting, has recently enabled the design of stretchable mechanical metamaterials that can be easily realized by embedding arrays of periodic cuts into an elastic sheet. Here, kirigami principles are exploited to design inflatables that can mimic target shapes upon pressurization. The system comprises a kirigami sheet embedded into an unstructured elastomeric membrane. First, it is shown that the inflated shape can be controlled by tuning the geometric parameters of the kirigami pattern. Then, by applying a simple optimization algorithm, the best parameters that enable the kirigami inflatables to transform into a family of target shapes at a given pressure are identified. Furthermore, thanks to the tessellated nature of the kirigami, it is shown that we can selectively manipulate the parameters of the single units to allow the reproduction of features at different scales and ultimately enable a more accurate mimicking of the target.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2001863
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • inverse design
  • kirigami
  • mechanical metamaterials
  • programmable inflatables
  • shape shifting


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