26 July 2004 Electroactive smart polymers for space optics
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Triton Systems Inc. has teamed with Virginia Tech to develop smart active materials for mirror shape control and stabilization systems utilized in thin film, space-based, polymeric mirrors. The development of novel lightweight space-qualified optics and support structures is of vital importance to science, industry, and national defense. Primary mirrors are one of the main drivers of the mass of space based optical systems. Therefore, lightweight optics is an essential component to reducing launch costs while increasing payload utility. Electroactive polymers represent a special class of “smart materials” whose electronic and physical properties such as conductivity, charge distribution, and shape can be changed in response to the environment (voltage and stress). The ability of electroactive polymers to change structure within a matrix in response to electrical stimulation has several applications for large ultra-lightweight optics. The Triton/VT team has begun the development of castable electroactive materials that do not depend on aqueous systems. These novel non-aqueous materials allow both an increase in voltage limits, and the ability to be used in environments where water would rapidly evaporate. These materials will allow the adjustment of the shape, to remove aberrations, as well as solve issues such as damping vibrations after re-pointing of large space telescopes.
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Arthur John Gavrin, Arthur John Gavrin, Kent G. Blizard, Kent G. Blizard, Donald J. Leo, Donald J. Leo, Mathew D. Bennett, Mathew D. Bennett, } "Electroactive smart polymers for space optics", Proc. SPIE 5390, Smart Structures and Materials 2004: Smart Structures and Integrated Systems, (26 July 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.539842; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.539842

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