Title: An analytical approach for the design of carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer laminates with minimised thermal expansion

Authors: Gregor C. Gebel

Addresses: Combustion Diagnostics Department, Institute of Combustion Technology, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Pfaffenwaldring 38-40,70569 Stuttgart, Germany

Abstract: The potential of carbon-fibre-reinforced polymers (CFRP) for the design of structures with extremely small coefficients of thermal expansion (CTE) is commonly known. Such structures play an important role in space applications, like earth observation satellites and space telescopes. But they also have a high potential for earthbound applications, for example, for precise mechanical and optical measurement devices. This paper demonstrates that orthotropic and quasi-isotropic laminates are most suitable for the design of laminates with minimised CTE. The derivation of a shortcut equation to the tensor calculations of the classical lamination theory is presented. Its purpose is to assist engineers in the selection of suitable carbon fibres and matrix polymers for the design of a laminate with high thermomechanical stability. The application of the equation is discussed and demonstrated on examples with practical relevance.

Keywords: coefficient of thermal expansion; carbon fibre reinforced polymers; CFRP; thermomechanical properties; thermomechanical stability; space structures; laminate theory; reinforced polymer laminates; laminate design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSPACESE.2014.066959

International Journal of Space Science and Engineering, 2014 Vol.2 No.4, pp.380 - 395

Received: 25 Mar 2014
Accepted: 06 Jul 2014

Published online: 18 Jan 2015 *

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