Washington State University researchers used the ancient Japanese art of paper folding to possibly solve a key challenge for outer space travel – how to store and move fuel to rocket engines.
The origami-inspired, folded plastic fuel bladder doesn’t crack at super-cold temperatures and could someday be used to store and pump fuel. It was tested in liquid nitrogen at about 77 degrees Kelvin. The bladder can be squeezed at least 100 times without breaking or leaking under cold conditions.
They plan to do testing with liquid hydrogen, assessing how well they can store and expel fuel and comparing the flow rates of their bladder with current systems.