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Published November 2006 | Published
Journal Article Open

Thin-Shell Deployable Reflectors with Collapsible Stiffeners Part 1: Approach


Thin-shell deployable reflector structures that are folded elastically in a nearly inextensional mode have been recently realized, exploiting the recent availability of high-modulus, ultrathin composite materials. An inherent and significant limitation of this approach is that these structures remain "floppy" in their deployed configuration. This paper presents a general concept for increasing the deployed stiffness of such structures, through the addition of a collapsible edge stiffener around the rim of a reflector dish. Ananalytical expression of the frequency/stiffness related to the softest deformation mode of a thin-shell reflector structure is presented, both with and without the stiffener. During folding, the stiffener collapses elastically, and this behavior is facilitated by the introduction of suitable discontinuities within the stiffener, or between the dish and the stiffener. A detailed study of a range of different options is presented, and one particular scheme is selected and optimized. For a specific example, a stiffness increase by a factor of 31 and a fundamental frequency increase by a factor of 4 are achieved, with a mass increase of only 16%.

Additional Information

Copyright ©2006 by Lin Tze Tan. Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., with permission. Received 27 February 2005; revision received 9 December 2005; accepted for publication 3 January 2006. We thank C.R. Calladine and C.R. Steele for helpful comments.

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