Behaviors of Composite Circular Struts in Space Environment: Analyses and Experiments
The optimal stacking sequence and wall thickness of the composite strut tubes were determined to minimize thermal strains during orbital operation using generic algorithms and finite element analyses. From the results of previous thermal analyses of composite struts with various stacking sequences, the axial deformation is a matter of prime importance. For this reason, the optimization focuses to minimize the axial strains. The balanced and symmetric stacking sequences are used to minimize the radial and the twisting deformations. The genetic algorithm is known to be very effective for the discrete optimization such as stacking sequences of composite materials. As a result, the thermal deformations of the strut with an optimal stacking sequence are almost zero. The optimal strut tube consists of 6 plies and the weight of a composite strut is 22.4% that of aluminum strut. Finite element analyses showed that the optimal design of composite strut tubes withstood combined launch loads without buckling and failure. To validate the analyses, four composite struts were fabricated and their thermal strains were measured under the temperature increase of 100°C. The thermal and vibration experiments showed excellent correlations with analytical results.
Kikuo Kishimoto, Masanori Kikuchi, Tetsuo Shoji and Masumi Saka
C. Kim et al., "Behaviors of Composite Circular Struts in Space Environment: Analyses and Experiments", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 261-263, pp. 797-802, 2004