Research Homepage for Mark Schenk

Mark Schenk (PhD, MSc, BSc)

Mark SchenkI am a lecturer in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol, working within ACCIS.

Previously I held a position as post-doctoral researcher in deployable structures with the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey, and with the Advanced Structures Group at the Cambridge University Engineering Department. I did my PhD in Structural Engineering at the University of Cambridge with Prof. Simon Guest, and studied Mechanical Engineering at Delft University of Technology where I obtained my BSc. and MSc. degrees.

Contact Details

Research Interests

My research interests currently cover

  • engineering origami
  • deployable structures
  • zero stiffness structures
  • nonlinear structures


Journal and Conference Publications

Filipov, E.V., Liu, K., Tachi, T., Schenk, M. and Paulino, G.H. (2017), "Bar and hinge models for scalable analysis of origami"; submitted to International Journal of Solids and Structures.
Viquerat, A., Schenk, M. (2016), "Viscoelastic Effects in Metal-Polymer Laminate Inflatable Structures"; 3rd AIAA Spacecraft Structures Conference, SciTech 2016, 4–8 January 2016, San Diego, CA [DOI | PDF]
Berthoud, L., Schenk, M. (2016), "How to Set Up a CubeSat Project – Preliminary Survey Results" 30th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, 6–12 August 2016, Logan, Utah, USA.
Viquerat, A., Schenk, M., Lappas, V.J. & Sanders, B. (2015), "Functional and Qualification Testing of the InflateSail Technology Demonstrator"; 2nd AIAA Spacecraft Structures Conference, SciTech 2015, 5–9 January 2015, Kissimmee, FL [DOI | PDF]
Visagie, L., Lappas, V.J. & Schenk, M. (2015), "Attitude Stability of Drag Sails"; submitted to AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics.
Fernandez, J.M., Visagie, L., Schenk, M., Stohlman, O.R., Aglietti, G., Lappas, V.J. & Erb, S. (2014), "Design and Development of a Gossamer Sail System for Deorbiting in Low Earth Orbit" Acta Astronautica, Issue 103, pp. 204–225. [DOI]
Schenk, M., Viquerat, A.D, Seffen, K.A. & Guest, S.D. (2014), "Review of Inflatable Booms for Deployable Space Structures: Packing and Rigidisation"; Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp. 762-778. [DOI]
Viquerat, A, Schenk, M., Sanders, B. & Lappas, V. J. (2014), "Inflatable Rigidisable Mast For End-Of-Life Deorbiting System" European Conference on Spacecraft Structures, Materials and Environmental Testing (SSMET) 2014, April 1–4, Braunschweig, Germany. [PDF]
Stohlman, O.R., Schenk, M. & Lappas, V.J. (2014), "Development of the Deorbitsail Flight Model" 55th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, 13–17 January 2014, National Harbor, Maryland. [PDF]
Schenk, M., Guest, S.D. & McShane, G.J (2014), "Novel Stacked Folded Cores for Blast-Resistant Sandwich Panels"; International Journal of Solids and Structures, Volume 51, Issue 25–26, pp. 4196–4212 [DOI]
Schenk, M. & Guest, S.D. (2013), "Geometry of Miura-Folded Meta-Materials"; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 110(9):3276--3281. [DOI]
Schenk, M., Kerr, S., Smyth, A.M. & Guest, S.D. (2013), "Inflatable Cylinders for Deployable Space Structures " Proceedings of the First Conference Transformables 2013, 18—20th September 2013, Seville, Spain. [PDF]
Schenk, M. & Guest, S.D. (2014), "On Zero Stiffness"; Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science, Volume 228, Issue 10, pp. 1701—1714. [PDF preprint | DOI]
Fernandez, J. M., Schenk, M., Prassinos, G., Lappas, V.J., Erb, S.O. (2013), "Deployment Mechanisms of a Gossamer Satellite Deorbiter" 15th European Space Mechanisms and Tribology Symposium 2013 (ESMATS 2013), 25–27th September 2013, Noordwijk, The Netherlands. [PDF]
Lappas, V.J., Fernandez, J.M., Stohlman, O., Viquerat, A., Prassinos, G., Theodorou, T., Schenk, M. (2013), "Demonstrator Flight Missions at the Surrey Space Centre involving Gossamer Sails. The Third International Symposium on Solar Sailing, 11–13th June 2013, Glasgow.
Viquerat, A.D., Schenk, M. & Lappas, V.J (2013), "DEPLOYTECH : nano-satellite testbeds for gossamer technologies" AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics and Materials Conference 2013, 8–11th April 2013, Boston, Massachusetts. Paper number AIAA 2013-1805.
de Paula Pellegrini, S., Tolou, N., Schenk, M. & Herder, J.L. (2013), "Bistable Vibration Energy Harvesters: a review." Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, Volume 24 Issue 11. [DOI]
Schenk, M., Allwood, J.M. & Guest, S.D. (2011), "Cold Gas-Pressure Folding of Miura-ori Sheets", proceedings of International Conference on Technology of Plasticity (ICTP 2011), September 25-30th, 2011, Aachen, Germany. Published in a special edition of Steel Research International. Pre-print: [PDF]
Schenk, M., Guest, S.D., (2011), "Origami Folding: A Structural Engineering Approach". In Origami5, proceedings of 5OSME, 5th international conference on Origami in Science, Mathematics and Education, July 14-15th 2010, Singapore. pp. 293-305. ISBN: 9781568817149. Pre-print: [PDF]
Barents, R., Schenk, M., Van Dorsser, W.D., Wisse, B.M., & Herder, J.L. (2011), "Spring-to-Spring Balancing as Energy-Free Adjustment Method in Gravity Equilibrators", ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, Volume 133, Issue 6, pp 061010. [DOI | PDF]
Winner of the Best Paper Award at the ASME IDETC/CIE 2009 conference, August 30-September 2, 2009, San Diego, CA. Paper number DETC2009-86770.
Schenk, M., Guest, S.D. (2009), "Folded Textured Sheets", In proceedings of IASS 2009 Symposium, September 28-October 2, 2009, Valencia, Spain. [PDF]
Van Dorsser, W.D., Barents, R., Wisse, B.M., Schenk, M. & Herder, J.L. (2008), "Energy-Free Adjustment of Gravity Equilibrators by Adjusting the Spring Stiffness", Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Part C, Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science, Volume 222, Issue 9, pp. 1839–1846. [DOI]
Schenk, M., Guest, S.D. & Herder, J.L. (2007), "Zero Stiffness Tensegrity Structures", International Journal of Solids and Structures, Volume 44, Issue 20, pp. 6569–6583. [DOI | PDF]
Schenk, M., Herder, J.L. & Guest, S.D. (2006), "Design of a Statically Balanced Tensegrity Mechanism", In proceedings of ASME IDETC/CIE 2006 conference, September 10-13th 2006, Philadelphia, USA. Volume 2: 30th Annual Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B, pp. 501-511. [PDF]

Theses & Reports

Schenk, M. (2011). "Folded Shell Structures", PhD Thesis at University of Cambridge. [PDF]
Schenk, M. (2008). "Textured Shell Structures", First-year PhD report at University of Cambridge.
Schenk, M. (2006). "Theory and Design of Statically Balanced Tensegrity Mechanisms", Master's thesis at Delft University of Technology. [PDF]
Schenk, M. (2005). "Statically Balanced Tensegrity Mechanisms — A Literature Review", Literature review at Delft University of Technology. [PDF]

Selected Talks & Presentations

"Origami: The Art of Folding in Science and Engineering" New Scientist Live event, ExCel, London, 23rd September 2016.
"Residual Creases: mechanics of partly (un)folded structures". Seminar at Workshop on Folding and Creasing of Thin Plate Structures, EPSCI, Paris, March 26th 2015.
"Origami in Deployable Structures for Small Satellites". Seminar at 2014 Workshop on Origami Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, April 14--16th 2014.
"Origami in Engineering and Architecture. An art spanning Mathematics, Engineering and Architecture.". As part of the 4th year Architectural Engineering course, I gave a lecture and workshop on 25th October 2012. This year a greater emphasis was put on engineering applications, with examples from ongoing research. [PDF]
"Folded Shell Structures — Analysis & Manufacture". Structures Group Seminar, Cambridge University Engineering Department, October 14th 2011. [PPT]
"Origami in Engineering and Architecture. An art spanning Mathematics, Engineering and Architecture.". As part of the 4th year Building Innovations course at the Cambridge University Engineering Department, I gave a lecture and workshop on 6th October 2011.
"Cold Gas Pressure Folding of Miura-ori Sheets". Presented at the 10th International Conference on Theory of Plasticity (ICTP) 2011, September 28th, Aachen, Germany, presented by Julian Allwood. [PPT]
"Designing a New Rosetta Stone: Making the Web last 500 Years". At the Clare Dilettante Society (May 16th 2011) I spoke about the standardisation of HTML and its role in preserving documents for future generations. The ensuing discussion raised a large number of interesting questions, and highlighted a lack of any real historical parallel.
"Origami Folding: A Structural Engineering Approach". Presented at the 5OSME, 5th international conference on Origami in Science, Mathematics and Education, July 15th, 2010, Singapore. [PPT]
"Folded Textured Sheets — from Origami to Concrete Formwork". Presented at the 3rd Clare College Research Symposium, March 11th 2010, Cambridge, UK. The Clare Research Symposium is an interdisciplinary symposium showcasing the research done by members of Clare College, Cambridge. [PPT]
"Folded Textured Sheets". Structures Group Seminar, Cambridge University Engineering Department, October 16 2009. [PPT]
"Origami for Engineers: Folded Shell Structures". Graduate Research Forum (GRF), Clare College, Cambridge, December 9 2008. [PPT]
"Zero Stiffness Tensegrity Structures". CUED Structures Seminar, Cambridge, November 23 2007. [PPT]

Other Publications

"The Art and Engineering of Origami", Article written for the Cambridge University Engineering Society magazine. Layout by Dan Bergsagel. [PDF]
"Folded Shell Structures". Poster presented in the House of Commons on 9th March 2009, for the Engineering Session of SET for BRITAIN. [PDF]
"Folded Shell Structures". Poster for Vitae EE Hub poster competition, presented December 4th 2008. The poster previously won the GSCUED poster competition, on October 22nd 2008. [PDF]


  • Origami Cylinder GUI One application of engineering origami, is the use of origami fold patterns to compactly inflatable cylindrical booms for deployable space structures. As part of work on DeployTech I developed a small design tool in Matlab to explore different variations of fold patterns and assess their deployment strains: Origami Cylinder GUI.


Thomson & Tait Twisting Ring

As part of the 'On Zero Stiffness' paper we did some finite element simulations of the Thomson & Tait twisting ring. Take an initially straight rod with uniform bending stiffness, and bend it arbitrarily (but elastically) along its length. In this deformed configuration any twisting of the rod along its centroidal axis requires no torque, and the structure thus has zero stiffness. The explanation is immediately intuitive: there exists no preferential bending axis and thus any twisted orientation of the rod will have identical strain energy. This example was first described by William Thomson (later known as Lord Kelvin) and Peter Guthrie Tait in their 1867 Treatise on Natural Philosophy.

The mechanical behaviour is markedly different if an initially curved rod is subjected to the same loads, and a ring will deform into a saddle-shaped configuration.

Research Tools

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