Design of a Reconfigurable SMA-Based Solar Array Deployment Mechanism Conference Paper uri icon


  • Shape memory alloys (SMAs), are a class of metals that possess the capability to recover substantial deformations resulting from applied mechanical loads through a solid-solid phase transformation. Typical deployment systems for solar arrays on microsats only allow for one-way deployment. However, by using an SMA actuator in place of a conventional deployment system, repeatable deployment and retraction can be achieved. Relative to conventional actuators, SMA-based solid state actuators offer a reduction in the weight, volume, and overall complexity of the system. In this study, a design of an SMA-based solar panel deployment mechanism for a typical microsat is presented. In this design, a conventional actuation system is replaced with a system of SMA torsional actuators, which allows for a deployed and stowed phase to be reached independent of environmental conditions. This design study illustrates that an SMA-based solar array deployment system can provide a viable replacement for a conventional deployment system while significantly reducing the deployment system weight, volume, and complexity.

name of conference

  • ASME 2015 Conference on Smart Materials, Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems

published proceedings

  • Volume 1: Development and Characterization of Multifunctional Materials; Mechanics and Behavior of Active Materials; Modeling, Simulation and Control of Adaptive Systems

author list (cited authors)

  • Wheeler, R., Saunders, R., Pickett, K., Eckert, C., Stroud, H., Fink, T., ... Lagoudas, D

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Wheeler, Robert||Saunders, Robert||Pickett, Kelli||Eckert, Cullen||Stroud, Hannah||Fink, Tyler||Gakhar, Kanika||Boyd, James||Lagoudas, Dimitris

publication date

  • September 2015