Experimental results regarding the inflation of unfolding cylindrical tubes

A. L. Clem, S. W. Smith, J. A. Main

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Inflatable structures promise to greatly reduce the cost of launching payloads into orbit. However, predicting the dynamics of their deployment and their interactions with other spacecraft is difficult. One such method for understanding the dynamics is the development of a computer simulation. One of the most important elements of a computer simulation is the determination of the internal pressure characteristics during inflation and deployment. Presented in this paper are the results of several experiments designed to examine the internal pressure of an unfolding, inflatable cylinder. Results show that external pressure greatly effects internal pressure during pressurization. Results also show that delays in pressurization across folds can occur. The presence and size of the delay are a function of tube diameter, pressure, and fold angle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-642
Number of pages10
JournalCollection of Technical Papers - AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics and Materials Conference
StatePublished - 2001
Event42nd AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference nad Exhibit Technical Papers - Seattle, WA, United States
Duration: Apr 16 2001Apr 19 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Materials Science (all)
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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