Design and Analysis of an Origami-Inspired and Hydrogel-Activated Flood Barrier



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Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the U.S., resulting in billions of dollars in damage to personal property and public infrastructure each year. Portable, quickly activated flood barriers are required to mitigate the damage risks posed by floods. A novel, origami- inspired flood barrier is proposed that utilizes hydrogels to swell automatically through a large volume change upon contact with water. Brief reviews of the fields of hydrogels and origami are provided in this work. Tests were conducted to characterize the swelling, deswelling, and reswelling properties of sodium polyacrylate, the hydrogel used throughout this work. Three different origami designs were analyzed as candidates for the final flood barrier design: the trapezoidal prism design, the square bellows design, and the semi-cylindrical prism design. Finally, initial flood barrier prototypes were developed. Proof-of-concept tests were used to verify the effectiveness of these prototypes as flood barriers.



Hydrogel, Sodium Polyacrylate, Flood Barrier, Origami, Mechanical engineering