Using origami to design spaceship fuel bladders

Capitalism in space: Engineers at Washington State University have developed a new design for a collapsible fuel bladder for spaceships using as its basis the Japanese art of origami.

Washington State University researchers have 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 researchers have developed an origami-inspired, folded plastic fuel bladder that doesn’t crack at super cold temperatures and could someday be used to store and pump fuel.

The advantages of a fuel tank that will shrink as it empties are numerous. It appears that nothing that has been tried so far has worked as well as this new design. If proven viable, it will change radically how interplanetary spaceships are designed. It will also make interplanetary missions more practical.