Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Ramy Harik


Deployable composite booms (DCB) are an advanced class of support beams growing in applications including solar collectors and solar sails. DCBs can be coiled or folded into a compact footprint and the ability to be deployed, and in some design, concepts redeployed, making them optimal components for aerospace where weight and volume are finite resources. DCBs are a cutting-edge technology that has yet to be perfected with a need for longer booms with increased stiffnesses to accommodate the latest proposed designs. Atomic-6 has proposed a 16-foot boom manufactured using an autoclave process which aims to reach the goal of producing a 100-foot boom. In order to determine if this boom has improved mechanical performance a test frame and several test methods must be created. Mechanical failure of these structures with high slenderness ratios is driven by instability rather than material strength making its bending stiffness, torsional stiffness, and column buckling strength the critical mechanical properties. The work herein will present this design process of the test frame and its control systems as well as the corresponding test methods. The test frame will be reconfigurable to accomplish all tests required which include the following: torsion, deflection, and column buckling. The test frame was then constructed, and the test methods validated using a substitute boom.


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