Title Fabrication and Testing of Self-Deploying Foam Antenna Structures
Source Proc. 47th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conf., paper AIAA-2006-1602
Year 2006
Author(s) Hoyt Haight, A. E.; Rand, P. B.; Shkindel, T.; Allred, R. E.
Abstract A copper-coated, open-cell foam antenna structure was fabricated and demonstrated. The coated foams produced could be compacted upon heating and subsequently redeployed to their original dimensions with good retention of surface characteristics. RF testing demonstrated that the foam-based antenna was capable of some beam focusing, although the gain loss was rather high in comparison with a standard metal reflector of the same geometry. These losses are believed to result primarily from high surface error (710 micron) relative to the standard surface. This surface error was likely a result of foam warpage caused by internal stresses present in the relatively thin specimens. The results of orbital thermal analysis and modeling of the associated distortions indicate that a simple change in reflector geometry from constant thickness to bi-concave could correct most of the surface error observed in the foam antenna system. Overall, the results continue to indicate the promise of these systems for use in lightweight, low stowage volume communications systems.
Keywords Open-celled foam, rigid foam, antenna structure, self-deploying, inflatable, outgassing, copper coated

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