Low and High Velocity Impact of Membranes


Lightweight structures for space applications rely greatly on thin polymer membranes.  Applications include solar sails, large antennas and mirrors, and thermal management.  In some space environments, impact and penetration of the membranes by micro-meteorites is an important consideration in structural design.


This project seeks to develop experimental apparatus that can measure impact properties of membranes and also provide data for computer model validation.  The equipment will be used at both room and cold temperatures to generate test data.


1. Low Velocity Impact. .A first generation drop test apparatus needs to be redesigned to be much more accurate and precise.


2. High Velocity Impact.  A ballistic device needs to be developed that is safe and repeatable.  Measurement of the impact velocity is a critical aspect of this apparatus.




Solar Sail Stunner (drag sail, 550px)