Viscoelastic Effects in Metal-Polymer Laminate Inflatable Structures

Andrew Viquerat, Mark Schenk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

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A 1 m long inflatable-rigidizable mast was developed as a payload for InflateSail: a 3U CubeSat technology demonstration mission. The thin-walled cylindrical mast consists of an aluminum-polymer laminate, and long-term structural performance is ensured through strain-rigidization: the packaging creases are removed through plastic deformation of the aluminum plies. During ground tests it was observed that after rigidization the internal pressure dropped more rapidly than could be accounted for by leakage of inflation gas alone. It was hypothesized that viscoelastic behaviour of the laminate material causes a further, time-dependent (order of seconds), increase in cylinder diameter, with a corresponding drop in internal pressure. Additional experiments revealed an increase in diameter, including large visco-elastic shear in the adhesive of the lap joint. This was not found to be sufficient to fully account for the observed reduction in pressure. An increase in temperature of the gas during inflation, with subsequent cooling down to ambient is thought to cause the additional pressure drop.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication3rd AIAA Spacecraft Structures Conference
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc. (AIAA)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781624103940
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2016
Event3rd AIAA Spacecraft Structures Conference, AIAA SciTech - San Diego, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Jan 20168 Jan 2016


Conference3rd AIAA Spacecraft Structures Conference, AIAA SciTech
CountryUnited Kingdom
CitySan Diego

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