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30 March 2009 Self-deployable graphite/epoxy composites space structure with embedded SMA wires
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The present paper deals with a self-deployable graphite/epoxy composite structure using a partially flexible composite (PFC) with shape memory alloy wires. The present paper introduces the fabrication processes of the PFC. Two different matrices are used for the PFC: epoxy resin for the normal main part, and silicone rubber for the folding line. Since the fibers are continuous in the structure, the PFC has the same tensile strength as a normal composite. We investigate graphite fiber breakages during the folding process by considering changes in electrical resistance. An SMA wire is embedded in the PFC to keep the folded configuration without loading and self-deployment is achieved using Joule heating. The results confirm that a flexible part of adequate length enables foldable composite structures without causing carbon fiber breakages. The embedded SMA wire realizes compactly folded composite panel structures without loading and Joule heating of the SMA wires enables self-deployable composite structures.
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A. Todoroki, K. Kumagai, and R. Matsuzaki "Self-deployable graphite/epoxy composites space structure with embedded SMA wires", Proc. SPIE 7292, Sensors and Smart Structures Technologies for Civil, Mechanical, and Aerospace Systems 2009, 72923A (30 March 2009);

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