Structural design and analysis of a lightweight composite sandwich space radiator panel
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The goal of this study is to design and analyze a sandwich composite panel with lightweight graphite foam core and carbon epoxy face sheets that can function as a radiator for the given payload in a satellite. This arrangement provides a lightweight, structurally efficient structure to dissipate the heat from the electronics box to the surroundings. Three-dimensional finite element analysis with MSC Visual Nastran is undertaken for modal, dynamic and heat transfer analysis to design a radiator panel that can sustain fundamental frequency greater than 100 Hz and dissipate 100 W/m2 and withstand launch loads of 10G. The primary focus of this research is to evaluate newly introduced graphite foam by Poco Graphite Inc. as a core in a sandwich structure that can satisfy structural and thermal design requirements. The panel is a rectangular plate with a cutout that can hold the antenna. The panel is fixed on all the sides. The objective is not only to select an optimum design configuration for the face sheets and core but also to explore the potential of the Poco foam core in its heat transfer capacity. Furthermore the effects of various parameters such as face sheet lay-up, orientation, thickness and material properties are studied through analytical models to validate the predictions of finite element analysis. The optimum dimensions of the sandwich panel are determined and structural and thermal response of the Poco foam is compared with existing aluminum honeycomb core.
Mukundan, Sudharsan (2003). Structural design and analysis of a lightweight composite sandwich space radiator panel. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from