Pressurized deployment model for inflatable space structures

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

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Recent research on inflated structure deployment modelling and verification includes a broad spectrum of approaches. In this effort, a simplified model of an inflating strut is developed as a system of rigid compartments connected by rotational springs and dampers representing localized stiffness and damping moments created by unfolding due to internal pressurization. Simulations of the deployment of an inflatable strut are presented with a focus on the transient torque developed at the base of the strut and comparing two different folding designs. Two internal pressurization models were also employed to simulate rapid and slow deployment. The simulations yield results similar to those reported from more detailed and more computationally intensive models. Static and dynamic tests of the pressurization of inflating tubes were performed for model verification. Time delays in downstream structural deployment due to the flow of inflatant are seen in some experiments, but not others. Further verification is planned with inflating strut deployment tests to be conducted in a microgravity environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-140
Number of pages11
JournalCollection of Technical Papers - AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics and Materials Conference
StatePublished - 2000
Event41st AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference and ExhibitAIAA/ASME/AHS Adaptive Structures ForumAIAA Non-Deterministic Approaches ForumAIAA Space Inflatables Forum - Atlanta, GA, USA
Duration: Apr 3 2000Apr 6 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • General Materials Science
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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