Design and Fabrication of a Composite Morphing Radiator Panel Using High Conductivity Fibers Conference Paper uri icon


  • 2017, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA. All rights reserved. Upcoming crewed space missions will involve large internal and external heat loads and require advanced thermal control systems to maintain a desired internal environment temperature. Radiators with at least 12:1 turndown ratios (the ratio between the maximum and minimum heat rejection rates) will be needed. However, current technologies are only able to achieve turndown ratios of approximately 3:1. A morphing radiator capable of altering shape could significantly increase turndown capabilities. Shape memory alloys offer qualities that may be well suited for this endeavor; their temperature-dependent phase changes could offer radiators the ability to passively control heat rejection. In 2015, a morphing radiator prototype was constructed and tested in a thermal vacuum environment, where it successfully demonstrated the morphing behavior and variable heat rejection. Newer composite prototypes have since been designed and manufactured using two distinct types of SMA materials. These models underwent temperature cycling tests in a thermal vacuum chamber and a series of fatigue tests to characterize the lifespan of these designs. The focus of this paper is to present the design approach and testing of the composite facesheet. The discussion includes: an overall description of the project background, definition of performance requirements, composite materials selection, use of analytic and numerical design tools, facesheet fabrication, and finally fatigue testing with accompanying results.

name of conference

  • 25th AIAA/AHS Adaptive Structures Conference

published proceedings

  • 25th AIAA/AHS Adaptive Structures Conference

author list (cited authors)

  • Wescott, M., McQuien, J. S., Bertagne, C. L., Whitcomb, J. D., Hartl, D. J., & Erickson, L.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Wescott, Matthew||McQuien, JS||Bertagne, Christopher L||Whitcomb, John D||Hartl, Darren J||Erickson, Lisa

publication date

  • January 2017