Title: Experimental investigation of inflated multiple-beam structures for future space tower

Authors: R.K. Seth; Z.H. Zhu; B.M. Quine

Addresses: Department of Physics, Arni School of Basic Sciences, Arni University, Kathgarh (Indora), Distt. Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, 176401, India ' Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada ' Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3, Canada

Abstract: This paper describes experimental investigation of inflatable multiple-beam structure configurations based on non-linear moment-curvature relationship to design light-weight structures comprising inflatable multiple-beams. To design a stable inflatable multiple-beam structure, intermittent bracing system is needed to stabilise each inflatable beam and their spacing is optimised for maintaining shape and buckling strength of the inflated structure. The bending of inflatable towers of different sizes comprising inflated beams are investigated experimentally. Experimental design guidelines are applied to develop a free-standing 7.0 m high prototype structure, demonstrating the capability of inflatable multiple-beam structure to be used as a core structure for the construction of space tower. The result of investigations of a single inflatable-beam structures has been applied to construct a core structure for the design of a pneumatically supported 20 km high space tower.

Keywords: space towers; inflatable structures; inflated multi-beam structures; lightweight structures; structural design; intermittent bracing; shape; buckling strength; pneumatics; space tower design; multiple beams.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSPACESE.2013.051772

International Journal of Space Science and Engineering, 2013 Vol.1 No.1, pp.82 - 95

Received: 05 Oct 2012
Accepted: 19 Oct 2012

Published online: 24 Jan 2013 *

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