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Proceedings Paper

Finite element analysis enhancement of cryogenic testing
Author(s): Clare D. Thiem; Douglas A. Norton
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Paper Abstract

Finite element analysis (FEA) of large space optics enhances cryogenic testing by providing an analytical method by which to ensure that a test article survives proposed testing. The analyses presented in this paper were concerned with determining the reliability of a half meter mirror in an environment where the exact environmental profile was unknown. FEA allows the interaction between the test object and the environment to be simulated to detect potential problems prior to actual testing. These analyses examined worse case scenerios related to cooling the mirror, its structural integrity for the proposed test environment, and deformation of the reflective surface. The FEA was conducted in-house on the System's Reliability Division's VAX 11-750 and Decstation 3100 using Engineering Mechanics Research Corporation's numerically integrated elements for systems analysis finite element software. The results of the analyses showed that it would take at least 48 hours to cool the mirror to its desired testing temperature. It was also determined that the proposed mirror mount would not cause critical concentrated thermal stresses that would fracture the mirror. FEA and actual measurements of the front reflective face were compared and good agreement between computer simulation and physical tests were seen. Space deployment of large optics requires lightweight mirrors which can perform under the harsh conditions of space. The physical characteristics of these mirrors must be well understood in order that their deployment and operation are successful. Evaluating design approaches by analytical simulation, like FEA, verifies the reliability and structural integrity of a space optic during design prior to prototyping and testing. Eliminating an optic's poor design early in its life saves money, materials, and human resources while ensuring performance.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 December 1991
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 1532, Analysis of Optical Structures, (1 December 1991); doi: 10.1117/12.48253
Show Author Affiliations
Clare D. Thiem, Rome Lab. (United States)
Douglas A. Norton, Rome Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1532:
Analysis of Optical Structures
Donald C. O'Shea, Editor(s)

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