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Proceedings Paper

Variable stiffness materials for reconfigurable surface applications
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Paper Abstract

Reconfigurable and morphing structures can potentially provide a range of new functionalities including system optimization over broad operational conditions and multi-mission capability. Previous efforts in morphing surfaces have generally focused on small deformation of high stiffness structural materials (e.g. aluminum, CFRP) or large deformation of low stiffness non-structural materials (e.g. elastomers). This paper introduces a new approach to achieving large strains in materials with high elastic moduli (5 to 30+ GPa). The work centers on creating variable stiffness composite materials which exhibit a controllable change in elastic modulus (bending or axial) and large reversible strains (5-15%). Several prototype materials were prepared using a commercial shape memory polymer, and measurements on these materials indicate a controllable change in stiffness as a function of temperature along with large reversible strain accommodation. We have fabricated and tested several design variations of laminar morphing materials which exhibit structural stiffness values of 8-12 GPa, changes in modulus of 15-77x, and large reversible bending strain and recovery of 2% area change in specific sample types. Results indicate that significant controllable changes in stiffness are possible.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 May 2005
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 5761, Smart Structures and Materials 2005: Active Materials: Behavior and Mechanics, (16 May 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.601495
Show Author Affiliations
Geoff McKnight, HRL Labs., LLC (United States)
Chris Henry, HRL Labs., LLC (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5761:
Smart Structures and Materials 2005: Active Materials: Behavior and Mechanics
William D. Armstrong, Editor(s)

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