Unfolding a convex polyhedron into a simple planar polygon is a well-studied problem. In this paper, we study the limits of unfoldability by studying nonconvex polyhedra with the same combinatorial structure as convex polyhedra. In particular, we give two examples of polyhedra, one with 24 convex faces and one with 36 triangular faces, that cannot be unfolded by cutting along edges. We further show that such a polyhedron can indeed be unfolded if cuts are allowed to cross faces. Finally, we prove that “open” polyhedra with triangular faces may not be unfoldable no matter how they are cut.

@article{UnunfoldablePolyhedrawithConvexFaces,
title = {Ununfoldable Polyhedra with Convex Faces},
author = {Marshall Bern and Erik D. Demaine and David Eppstein and Eric Kuo and Andrea Mantler and Jack Snoeyink},
url = {http://erikdemaine.org/papers/Ununfoldable/},
urldate = {2017-06-26},
abstract = {Unfolding a convex polyhedron into a simple planar polygon is a well-studied problem. In this paper, we study the limits of unfoldability by studying nonconvex polyhedra with the same combinatorial structure as convex polyhedra. In particular, we give two examples of polyhedra, one with 24 convex faces and one with 36 triangular faces, that cannot be unfolded by cutting along edges. We further show that such a polyhedron can indeed be unfolded if cuts are allowed to cross faces. Finally, we prove that “open” polyhedra with triangular faces may not be unfoldable no matter how they are cut.},
comment = {},
year = 2003,
collections = {things-to-make-and-do}
}