Multi-cellular inflatable structure

At LMSSC, Cnam, Paris, January 24th 2007
Kosei Ishimura
Assistant professor, School of Information Science and Technology, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

Inflatable structures are promising candidates as ultra-light and large space structures with high packaging efficiency. Because they have no sliding mechanism, they are expected to have high reliability in deployment. In this study, we reconsider inflatable structures as tensegrity systems. As a result, multi-cellular inflatable structures with discontinuous compressed elements are proposed. The multi-cellular structure system can be made robust against space debris. In addition, damaged cells are replaceable. The inner pressure of the inflatable structure is utilized to maintain rigidity not only during deployment but also during ordinal operation. Furthermore, inflatable structures with inner fluid are expected to be used as heat pipes. Through numerical analysis and experiments, it is shown that the proposed multi-cellular structures can maintain a degree of rigidity even if a number of cells are damaged. Finally, we describe representative applications of multi-cellular inflatable structures and future rospects of inflatable structures with inner fluids were discussed.

Laboratoire de Mécanique des Structures et des Systèmes Couplés - LMSSC