Weave Structure for Drone-Dropped Packaging 

Creator: William Hua
Supervisor: Peter Yeadon
Collaborator: Dave Sherman, Rogers Corporation

This materials-driven study conceives of new opportunities for Poron XRD, a rate-dependent foam that is produced by Rogers Corporation. The material is superior at absorbing and dissipating impact energy; hence, it’s currently used in protective apparel and sporting products. However, it also has drawbacks; it’s easily scratched and punctured; it has a high chance of cracking when washed and folded; it loses its absorption effectiveness when wet; it can easily tear; and it cannot be recycled easily. So, what new inventions might take advantage of this material, while avoiding its shortcomings?
While creating different shapes to see which shape absorbs impact the best, one particular configuration stood out from the rest: wavy ribbons. It was the least dense, while also being the best at impact absorption. Dropping various objects on it, including raw eggs, led to thoughts about dropping objects from significant heights. Since drone shipping is currently limited to landing, or low-level cord drops, or low-level parachute drops, this project explored the creation of a container for high-altitude drops in rough terrain and emergency situations. The result was a highly protective, versatile, and reusable container for valuable equipment. This means that explorers and soldiers do not need to carry additional equipment until requested.