Abstract: The Deployable Structures Thrust Area at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate maintains an active in-house and contracted research portfolio in the field of deployable space structures. Much of this research focuses on structures and materials that can be elastically folded to allow spacecraft payloads to be compactly packaged for launch and subsequently unfolded on orbit for systems up to 100’s of meters long. This presentation will focus on recent progress in using carbon fiber composites in these structures. Composite materials are used as thin flexures in these structures and interesting and unexpected results have been observed. Failure modes common in traditional structures are suppressed leading to unprecedented elastic fiber compressive strains of 2.5% and extreme fiber constitutive behavior nonlinearities. The talk will present new testing and modeling techniques and results developed specifically for thin composites.
Bio: Dr. Thomas Murphey received his BS from Cal Poly Pomona in 1996 and his MS and PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2000, all in mechanical engineering. Dr. Murphey’s dissertation examined the nonlinear elastic behavior of wrinkled thin films for membrane apertures. From 2004 until 2010 he led the Deployable Structures Thrust Area at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate. He now serves as the Integrated Structural Systems Group Technology Advisor. Current research interests include tensioned precision structures, diffractive optic structures, reconfigurable RF structures, flexible composite structures, high strain materials, large deployable structures, and CubeSat deployable structures. Dr. Murphey holds 6 patents, has 6 patents pending and has authored or co-authored over 50 publications.