Solarelastic Stability of Solar Sail Structures

Metadata Updated: May 2, 2019

In order to avoid an unintended failure in proposed Solar Sail spacecraft due to solarelastic interactions it is important to develop an analytical framework for predicting the interaction between the solar pressure and the solar membrane. I will develop a fully coupled membrane, solar pressure model that can be used to predict dynamic instabilities for Solar Sails. Many of the techniques will be directly borrowed from supersonic aeroelastic analysis but the analysis will specifically focus on proposed Solar Sails. Specifically I will couple a solar pressure model proposed by MacNeal [1] with finite element structural model of the Solar Sail to determine the critical dimensions for different solar pressure strengths. Furthermore, I will conduct non-linear structural analysis for the sails to determine the post critical behavior and ensure that the stress induced by flutter will not cause catastrophic sail failure.

In addition I will validate my theoretical model with experimentation. Because the solar pressure will not be measurable on the ground where aerodynamic forces will dominate, alternate methods of simulating the solarelastic response will be developed. For my research I will use piezoelectric patches to simulate the generalized forces in the most important structural modes. The most important structural modes will be determined by the unstable eigenvalues in the solarelastic analysis and the critical mode shape from the corresponding eigenfuctions. As with the theoretical analysis, initial simulations will be done on the simply supported rectangle case.

[1] MacNeal, R. H., Structural Dynamcis of the Heliogyro, NASA CR-1745, 1971

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: U.S. Government Work

Downloads & Resources


Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date May 2, 2019

Metadata Source

Harvested from NASA Data.json

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date August 1, 2018
Metadata Updated Date May 2, 2019
Publisher Space Technology Mission Directorate
Unique Identifier TECHPORT_11491
Maintainer Email
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 026:00
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Datagov Dedupe Retained 20190501230127
Harvest Object Id 463dec8f-8f0e-4b18-a703-4f948901b5c9
Harvest Source Id 39e4ad2a-47ca-4507-8258-852babd0fd99
Harvest Source Title NASA Data.json
Data First Published 2015-10-01
Homepage URL
Data Last Modified 2018-07-19
Program Code 026:027
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash 9b0ea2ad37594d29ebedf4e52774ac8109b90cdf
Source Schema Version 1.1

Didn't find what you're looking for? Suggest a dataset here.