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Astrodynamics

Article Title

Shape memory composite structures for self-deployable solar sails

Keywords

solar sail, shape memory composite, finite element modeling, carbon-fiber composite, self-deployable structure

Abstract

Shape memory composites (SMCs) combine mechanical performances of composite materialswith functional behavior of shape memory polymers. They can be used to produce theexternal frame of self-deployable solar sails with very low weight in comparison withtraditional composite booms. Furthermore, heat activation is necessary for deployinginstead of complex mechanical devices. In this study, the mechanical behavior of a solar sailwith SMC frame is simulated by means of finite element modeling. Design considerations aremade on sail deployment configuration, size/weight ratio of solar sails, and SMC properties.An experimental activity has been also performed to provide suitable candidates for thecomposite laminates of the SMC structure. Mechanical and instrumented recovery testshave been carried out on 2-plies carbon-fiber laminates with a shape memory interlayer.

Publisher

Tsinghua University Press

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