Title Light Curing Resins for Rigidizing Inflatable Space Structures
Source Proc. 49th Int. SAMPE Symp. Exhib.
Year 2004
Author(s) Hoyt, A. E.; Harrah, L. A.; Sprouse, M. R.; Allred, R. E.; McElroy, P. M.; Scarborough, S. E.; Cadogan, D. Pl
Abstract Inflatable spacecraft that become rigid after deployment are an attractive approach for large structures such as antennas. A promising approach for clean, controlled rigidization is the use of light curing resins as composite matrices in the structure. With this approach, termed Rigidization On Command (ROC), the inflatable structure is deployed and then rigidized using internal light sources or with sunlight. The ROC resins are formulated to cure at low temperatures with varying kinetics and at various wavelengths custom designed for the application. LEDs provide a robust, efficient light source for internal curing of structures covered with multilayer insulation. ROC resins have been formulated to cure using visible light LEDs and their cure kinetics measured. These resins show mechanical properties equivalent to those of thermally cured epoxy resin systems. Lightweight isogrid tubes fabricated with these resins and light cured have been folded, deployed, light cured, and tested. Results show them to be equivalent to similar thermally cured structures.
Keywords Inflatable antennas, ROC, rigidization, UV cure, LED cure, resin sensitizers, inflatable space structures, low temperature cure