Developments in elastic memory composite materials for spacecraft deployable structures

Conference Paper

Near-term and future spacecraft and satellites will require large ultra-lightweight structures and components that must be efficiently packaged for launch and reliably deployed on orbit. A new material technology called Elastic Memory Composite (EMC) materials, shows promise in meeting these needs. The EMC polymer matrix materials enable a fully cured composite structure or component to be deformed or folded for efficient packaging into a spacecraft or launch vehicle, then regain its original shape with no degradation or loss in mechanical or physical properties. A component using EMC materials is fabricated in its deployed, on orbit shape using conventional composite manufacturing processes. Then by heating the material and applying force this fully cured composite material can be folded or deformed for packaging. When cooled, it will retain the packaged shape indefinitely. When reheated the structure will regain its original shape with little or no external force. This packaging/deployment cycle is rev ersible. This paper reviews new developments in EMC materials technology including material properties, analytical and designs tools, testing and evaluation protocols, and new applications.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tupper, M; Munshi, N; Beavers, F; Meink, T; Gall, K; Mikulas, M

Published Date

  • January 1, 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 5 /

Start / End Page

  • 52541 - 52548

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1095-323X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1109/AERO.2001.931215

Citation Source

  • Scopus