Experimental Characterization of a Shape Memory Alloy-Based Morphing Radiator Conference Paper uri icon


  • 2016, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA, All rights reserved. Crewed spacecraft on future missions beyond Low Earth Orbit will be subjected to large variations in the external thermal environment and internal heat loads over the course of the mission. Maintaining a constant internal temperature in spite of these variations requires a radiator system with a high turndown ratio, which is de_ned as the ratio between the maximum and minimum heat rejection rates achievable by the radiator. Current radiator systems are able to achieve turndown ratios of approximately 3:1, however, future missions will require turndown ratios of at least 10:1. A recently-proposed radiator concept, known as a morphing radiator, employs the temperature-dependent phase change of shape memory alloy (SMA) materials to recon_gure a radiator's shape in order to achieve very high turndown ratios. This paper summarizes the results of a recent experimental study which investigated the behavior of a prototype morphing radiator in a thermal environment similar to that in which the radiator is expected to operate on a future mission. The prototype used shape memory alloy wires to successfully demonstrate the desired temperature-induced morphing behavior. A _nite element model of the prototype indicate that the radiator achieved a turndown ratio of 6.4:1 over the course of the experiment. The results from this study give additional con_dence in the morphing radiator concept and provide data which will be used in future validation studies.

name of conference

  • 24th AIAA/AHS Adaptive Structures Conference

published proceedings

  • 24th AIAA/AHS Adaptive Structures Conference

author list (cited authors)

  • Bertagne, C. L., Chong, J., Hartl, D. J., Whitcomb, J. D., Erickson, L. R., & Sheth, R.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Bertagne, Christopher L||Chong, Jorge||Hartl, Darren J||Whitcomb, John D||Erickson, Lisa R||Sheth, Rubik

publication date

  • January 2016