Shape memory composites (SMCs) are very interesting for self-deployable structures in aerospace applications. SMCs have been widely developed but not yet fully applied to space. In this study a lab-scale production of SMC prototypes for aerospace is described. Conceptual design of small-scale structures were prototyped with the aim to define several configurations which are able to self-deploy. SMC prototypes were manufactured by using two layers of carbon/epoxy prepreg with a shape memory epoxy resin interlayer. Two different configurations were produced to prototype complex shape for multiple folding and 3D deployments of de-orbiting structures. In particular, the first prototype tests a de-orbiting system without the sail to study the complex folding and de-folding mechanisms. The second configuration evaluates a de-orbiting dual-sail for satellite applications. The SMC structures were produced in the opened shape and subsequently memorized in the closed configuration. The initial deployed configuration is recovered by heating the prototype. The closed configuration increases the packing efficiency of large structures for space orbiting systems. The shape memory properties were provided only to folding zones. Memory-recovery-cycles have been performed to test SMC performances. As a result, the two configurations can successfully self-deploy following the desired design constraints and recovering the original flatness without noticeable defects.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.