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Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering

Front Mech Eng    2013, Vol. 8 Issue (3) : 276-282
Shape control of multi-cellular inflatable panels
1. The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Kanagawa 252-5210, Japan; 2. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Kanagawa 252-5210, Japan; 3. Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2140, USA
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Multi-cellular inflatable structures are ultra-light and robust against membrane damage such as pinholes caused by space debris. Due to their robustness, inflatable structures supported by inner gases can be applied as space structures. In the present study, shape control for a simple multi-cellular inflatable panel was achieved via a novel diaphragm mechanism. When the bending actuator in a center membrane bends, the inner pressures of sub-cells become different, and the diaphragm mechanism bends as a whole. Because a sliding component is not included, this deformable system is a reliable mechanism. In addition, the proposed mechanism has higher rigidity than that of a bending actuator used alone. In the present paper, we investigate the feasibility of a novel diaphragm mechanism and its characteristics using experimental and numerical results.

Keywords Membrane structures      inflatable structure      shape control      smart structures      structural mechanics      space engineering     
Corresponding Author(s): KATAYAMA N.,   
Issue Date: 05 September 2013
 Cite this article:   
N. KATAYAMA,K. ISHIMURA,K. MINESUGI, et al. Shape control of multi-cellular inflatable panels[J]. Front Mech Eng, 2013, 8(3): 276-282.
Fig.1  Multi-cellular inflatable panel and cylinder
Fig.2  Deployment behavior []
Fig.3  Bending test of a MCI panel
Fig.4  Schematic view of a simple MCI panel with the proposed diaphragm mechanism
Fig.5  Single cell composed of sub-cells
Fig.6  Schematic view of the bending actuator as a center membrane
Fig.7  Deformation of a MCI panel with a diaphragm mechanism
Parameters of bimorph actuatorsdδ1/s11thickness
460 [pC/N]0.5 [mm]30 [GPa]300 [μm]
Sub-cell parametersPi_0hili_0 tiEiMex
1 [kPa]1 [m]1 [m]10 [μm]1 [GPa]0
Tab.1  Parameters shown in Fig. 7
Fig.8  Applied voltages as a function of the rotation angle
Non-dimensional parametersh^d^B^M^exU^C^
Tab.2  Fixed parameters
Fig.9  Aspect ratio as a function of the rotation angle
Fig.10  d hat as a function of the rotation angle
Fig.11  C hat as a function of the rotation angle
Fig.12  B hat as a function of the rotation angle
Fig.13  Experimental model
Fig.14  Experimental Setup
Experiment Number1st2nd3rd4th5th
Applied voltagetop layer/V03006009001200
Applied voltagebottom layer/V0-100-200-300-400
Tab.3  Applied voltage to the bending actuator
Fig.15  Applied voltage and rotation angle
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