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Short Course

Advanced Composite Materials for Astronomical Telescopes and Optomechanical Instruments (SC1078)

Course Level: Intermediate
Format Member Non-Member
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Advanced composite materials have been used successfully in optomechanical systems since the 1970s. They are being used increasingly in telescopes, mirrors, and other optomechanical systems. There are a significant and increasing number of spacecraft, airborne and ground-based applications. A growing array of polymer matrix-, metal matrix-, ceramic matrix- and carbon/carbon composites provide great improvements in stiffness, strength, dimensional stability, thermal conductivity and corrosion resistance over conventional materials of construction, and are considerably lighter. Low-cost, net-shape manufacturing processes make many of these materials economically attractive.


This course will enable you to:
  • acquire terminology and understand the basic properties and characteristics of the four classes of composites used in telescopes and other optomechanical systems
  • select appropriate candidate composites and perform design studies
  • improve thermal and moisture dimensional stability
  • increase stiffness
  • reduce weight
  • increase acceleration and deceleration tolerance
  • reduce vibrations
  • reduce thermal stresses by matching CTEs
  • increase thermal conductivity
  • reduce design complexity
  • review where composites are being used in spacecraft, airborne and ground-based applications, such as SOFIA, ALMA, and James Webb Space Telescope
  • be aware of future developments, such as potential use of lunar materials to make composite mirrors


This course is designed for engineers, scientists and managers involved in design and manufacture of telescopes and optomechanical systems.

About the

Carl Zweben , an independent consultant on composites and advanced thermal materials, was for many years Advanced Technology Manager and Division Fellow at GE Astro Space. He has over 40 years' experience in development and application of all types of advanced composites in optomechanical systems, dimensionally stable structures, and thermal control. He is a Life Fellow of ASME, a Fellow of ASM and SAMPE, and an Associate Fellow of AIAA. He is the first winner of the GE Engineer-of-the-Year and One-in-a-Thousand awards. He has taught over 250 short courses, worldwide.


No additional notes for this course format.
Format Member Non-Member
Contact SPIE
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