You are on page 1of 244
TRITA-MEK Technical Report 2002:04 ISSN 0348-467X ISRN KTH/MEK/TR--02/04--SE Deployable Tensegrity Structures for Space Applications Gunnar Tibert

TRITA-MEK Technical Report 2002:04 ISSN 0348-467X

ISRN KTH/MEK/TR--02/04--SE

Deployable Tensegrity Structures for Space Applications

Gunnar Tibert

Doctoral Thesis Stockholm, 2002

Royal Institute of Technology Department of Mechanics

Deployable Tensegrity Structures for Space Applications

Doctoral Thesis by Gunnar Tibert

ERRATA

11 July 2002

The indices of the cable and strut lengths in Equations (3.2) and (3.3) on pages 35

and 36 should be changed from (i) t to c and (ii) c to s so that they read:

and

l

2

c

= 2R 2 (1 cos θ ) + H 2 ,

l

2

s

= 2R 2 1 cos θ +

2πi

v

+ H 2 ,

l

2

s

= 4R 2 sin θ +

πi

v

sin

πi

v

+ l

2

c

.

(3.2a)

(3.2b)

(3.3)

Equation (4.13) on page 83 should read: 1

P cr = 4 C M

l

(4.13)

As a result of the error in (4.13), the beginning of the second paragraph on page 84

should read:

 

...

which

yields P cr = 1315 N using (4.13). Substituting the buckling load, ∆ = 3.65

mm and M = 13 Nm into (4.15) yielded P = 960 N.

Furthermore, the end of the third sentence on page 85 should read:

...P Eu = 5.28 kN or about 5.5P .

Finally, the end of line 13 on page 87 should read:

The buckling load of the struts, 960 N, ...

1 Thanks are due to Dr. Zhong You for pointing out this error to the author.

Deployable Tensegrity Structures for Space Applications

by

Gunnar Tibert

April 2002 Technical Reports from Royal Institute of Technology Department of Mechanics SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Akademisk avhandling som med tillst˚and av Kungliga Tekniska H¨ogskolan i Stock-

holm framl¨agges till offentlig granskning f¨or avl¨aggande av teknologie doktorsexa-

men m˚andagen den 15:e april kl 13.00 i Kollegiesalen, Administrationsbyggnaden,

Kungliga Tekniska H¨ogskolan, Valhallav¨agen 79, Stockholm.

c Gunnar Tibert 2002

Preface

The work presented in this thesis was carried out at the Department of Engineering

at the University of Cambridge, the Department of Structural Engineering and the

Department of Mechanics at the Royal Institute of Technology between December

1999 and April 2002.

First, I thank Prof. Sergio Pellegrino for giving me the opportunity to work at

his excellent Deployable Structures Laboratory (DSL). His guidance, enthusiasm,

encouragement and vast knowledge of structures have been invaluable throughout

the course of this research.

  • I thank my supervisor Prof. Anders Eriksson for his constant encouragement and

guidance.

A debt of gratitude is owed to Peter Knott, Roger Denston, Alistair Ross and the

technicians at the workshop of the Engineering Department in Cambridge and to

Olle L¨ath and Daniel Hissing, at the laboratory of the Department of Structural

Engineering in Stockholm, for their technical assistance.

Thanks are due to Prof. Christopher R. Calladine of the University of Cambridge

for constructive comments on a draft paper and to Prof. William O. Williams of

Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA and Andrea Micheletti of Universit`a

di Roma “Tor Vergata” in Rome for valuable discussions on tensegrity.

Many grateful thanks go to Eric Pak for excellent teamwork during the design and

construction of the mast models, to Gerard James for interesting discussions and

painstaking proof-reading of the manuscript, and to Dr. Anders Ansell and Dr. Karin

Forsell for meticulous proof-reading of the manuscript.

  • I thank Tim Reynolds of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency in Farnbor-

ough, UK for providing the reflector antenna design task and Ian Stern of Harris

Corporation in Melbourne, USA for the data on their deployable reflector antennas

and for the interesting discussions on deployable tensegrities.

A thank goes to colleagues and former colleagues of the Department of Structural

Engineering and Department of Mechanics; in particular, Peter Andr´en, Anders

Ahlstr¨om, Dr. Jean-Marc Battini, Abraham Getachew, Rickard Johnson, Anders

Olsson, Dr. Jonatan Paulsson-Tralla, Tom Th¨oyr¨a, Roger Ullmann, Anders Salw´en,

Anders Wiberg and those already mentioned above. I also thank the members

of DSL and the Structures Research Group for many helpful discussions and a

iii

great time in Cambridge. Special thanks go to Dr. Marcus Aberle, Lars Ekstr¨om,

Dr. Annette Fischer, Guido Morgenthal, Dr. Elizbar ‘Buba’ Kebadze, Sangarapillai

Kukathasan, Dr. Jason Lai, Andrew Lennon, Hannes Schmidt, Lin Tze Tan, Alan

Watt and Wesley Wong.

Finally, I would like to thank my parents for their encouragement, continuous love

and support.

Financial support from the Royal Institute of Technology and The Royal Swedish

Academy of Sciences is gratefully acknowledged.

Stockholm, April 2002

Gunnar Tibert

iv

Abstract

This thesis deals with the development of deployable structures, based on the tenseg-

rity concept, for applications in space.

A state-of-the-art review of deployable masts and reflector antennas for space appli-

cations is presented. A comparison is made between the various reflector antennas

in terms of deployed and stowed sizes, mass and accuracy.

The key step in the design of tensegrity structures is the form-finding analysis.

Several methods proposed for this step are scrutinised and classified into two groups,

kinematic and static methods, and the advantages and disadvantages of each method

are investigated. Two of the statical methods seems to be identical. It is concluded

that several form-finding methods are available, but no single method is suitable for

general tensegrities. The force method, for the analysis of the kinematic and static

properties of large bar frameworks, is presented.

The analysis and design of deployable tensegrity masts, with three struts per stage,

is described. A routine for the manufacturing of physical models is proposed and

evaluated. Different schemes for deployment are investigated. A way to deploy

the struts using self-deployable hinges is introduced and demonstrated by four- and

eight-stage mast models. Finally, the tensegrity mast is compared with an existing

deployable mast with respect to stiffness. The mast is relatively stiff in the axial

direction but very weak in bending.

The requirements for a deployable reflector antenna used on small satellites are

formulated. A concept, which uses a triangulated cable network to approximate

the reflecting surface, is adopted. The kinematically determinate triangulated ca-

ble network is thoroughly analysed. The achievable surface accuracy of the net,

both to systematic errors arising from the triangular approximation of the surface

and random manufacturing errors, is evaluated. The underlying principles and the

statical and kinematical properties of the new concept are presented. A physical

model is built to analyse the feasibility of the concept and to test various deploy-

ment schemes. The scheme using telescopic struts are identified as the most suitable

and a preliminary design an antenna, with a diameter of three metres, for a future

space mission is performed. Numerical computations show that the antenna is stiff

and extremely light.

Keywords: deployable structures, tensegrity, form-finding, cable net, analysis, de-

sign, spacecraft, mast, reflector antenna.

v

Contents

Preface

iii

Abstract

v

List of Symbols and Abbreviations

 

xx

  • 1 Introduction

1

  • 1.1 Deployable Structures

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

1

Tensegrity

  • 1.2 .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

2

  • 1.3 Mechanics of Bar Frameworks

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

3

  • 1.4 Scope and Aims .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

5

  • 1.5 Outline of Thesis

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

6

  • 2 Deployable Space Structures

 

9

  • 2.1 Introduction .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

9

  • 2.2 Deployable Masts

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

10

  • 2.2.1 Thin-Walled Tubular Booms .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

11

  • 2.2.2 Telescopic Masts

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

11

  • 2.2.3 Coilable Masts

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

13

  • 2.2.4 Articulated Trusses

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

13

  • 2.3 Deployable Reflector Antennas .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

16

  • 2.3.1 Mesh Antennas

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

17

  • 2.3.2 Solid Surface Antennas .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

26

  • 2.3.3 Inflatable Antennas .

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

29

  • 2.3.4 Antenna Comparison

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

30

vii

3

Analysis Methods for Tensegrity Structures

33

  • 3.1 Introduction .

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

33

  • 3.2 Kinematic Form-Finding Methods

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

35

3.2.1

Analytical Solutions

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

35

3.2.2

Non-Linear Programming

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

36

3.2.3

Dynamic Relaxation

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

37

  • 3.3 Static Form-Finding Methods

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

39

3.3.1

Analytical Solutions

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

39

3.3.2

Force Density Method

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

40

3.3.3

Energy Method

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

41

3.3.4

Reduced Coordinates

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

44

  • 3.4 Implementation of the Force Density Method .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

47

3.4.1

A Two-Dimensional Example

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

47

3.4.2

Tensegrity Prisms

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

49

3.4.3

Spherical Tensegrities

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

51

  • 3.5 The Force Method for Analysis of Bar Frameworks

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

53

3.5.1

Equilibrium and Compatibility Matrices

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

54

3.5.2

Static and Kinematic Properties .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

54

3.5.3

Rigid-Body Mechanisms

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

56

3.5.4

Internal Mechanisms

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

57

3.5.5

Structural Computations .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

59

3.5.6

Example: Hanging Triangular Net

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

60

  • 3.6 Discussion

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

61

4

Deployable Tensegrity Masts

 

65

Background

  • 4.1 .

.

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

65

  • 4.2 Static and Kinematic Properties .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

65

  • 4.3 Form-Finding

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

67

4.3.1

Two-Stage Tensegrity Mast

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

67

4.3.2

Multi-Stage Tensegrity Masts

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

68

viii

  • 4.4 Manufacturing Technique

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

70

  • 4.5 Deployment

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

73

  • 4.5.1 Strut Deployment

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

74

  • 4.5.2 Demonstrator Masts

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

75

  • 4.6 Structural Analysis

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

78

  • 4.6.1 Initial Equilibrium Element Forces

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

79

  • 4.6.2 Preliminary Design of Struts and Cables

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

83

  • 4.6.3 Vibration Analysis

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

86

Static Analysis

  • 4.6.4 .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

89

  • 4.7 Discussion

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

91

5

Design Prerequisites for a Deployable Reflector Antenna

 

95

  • 5.1 Small Satellites and Deployable Structures

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

95

  • 5.1.1 Micro-Satellites Astrid-1 and -2

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

96

  • 5.1.2 Small Satellite Odin

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

97

  • 5.1.3 Space Technology Research Vehicles .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

98

  • 5.1.4 Future STRV Missions

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 100

  • 5.2 New Reflector Concept for Small Satellites

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 101

  • 5.2.1 Existing Concepts with Passive Structure

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 102

  • 5.2.2 Tensegrity Reflector Concept

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 102

  • 5.3 Geometry of Parabolic Reflector Antennas

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 104

  • 5.3.1 Axi-Symmetric Reflector

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 104

  • 5.3.2 Offset Reflector

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 105

  • 5.3.3 Values for F/D and X A

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 109

  • 5.4 Reflector Antenna Theory

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 110

  • 5.4.1 Antenna Gain .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 110

  • 5.4.2 Effects of Random Surface Errors

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 112

  • 5.4.3 Systematic Surface Error of Faceted Paraboloids

 

.

.

.

.

.

. 113

  • 5.4.4 Allowable Surface Error of Reflector Antennas

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 115

  • 5.4.5 Ground Resolution

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 117

 

ix

  • 5.4.6 Accuracy Goals for the Present Antenna

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 118

  • 5.5 Selection of Materials .

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 118

  • 5.5.1 Materials for the Antenna Structure .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 118

  • 5.5.2 Materials for the RF Reflective Surface

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 119

  • 6 Analysis of Tension Trusses

 

121

  • 6.1 Static and Kinematic Properties .

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 122

  • 6.2 Axi-Symmetric Configurations .

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 123

  • 6.2.1 Sag-to-Span Ratio

 

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 123

  • 6.2.2 Position of Additional Nodes .

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 126

  • 6.2.3 Tension Tie Force Distribution

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

. 126