Date of Award

8-2013

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor

Vincent Caccese

Second Committee Member

Mohsen Shahinpoor

Third Committee Member

Ali Abedi

Abstract

With the increasing expense of launching satellites and habitats into low earth orbit and beyond, NASA has pursued the development of soft deployable structures. These structures offer a low mass, low volume payload during launch and can expand to a much greater size once in orbit. This allows for smaller, cheaper rocket platforms to deliver large size payloads such as dish antennae, space station, and habitats where heavy launch vehicles like the Space Shuttle would typically be required. These deployable structures are constructed primarily out of textile materials and require unique systems to monitor structural integrity during deployment and operation. Some such systems use vibrations to determine impact and damage locations. In this thesis, an experimental case study of various low cost, low-mass vibration sensors is performed on a tensioned fabric specimen, including a preliminary examination of damage detection from the structures dynamic response. The usability of these sensors is determined by its ability to detect the dynamic response of a fabric specimen, determined numerically by FEA and experimentally by accepted experimental methods.

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