Hypervelocity impact induced disturbances on composite sandwich panel spacecraft structures

Ryan, S 2007, Hypervelocity impact induced disturbances on composite sandwich panel spacecraft structures, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Hypervelocity impact induced disturbances on composite sandwich panel spacecraft structures
Author(s) Ryan, S
Year 2007
Abstract The next generation of European scientific satellites will carry extremely sensitive measurement devices that require platform stability orders of magnitude higher than current missions. It is considered that the meteoroid and space debris (M/SD) environment poses a risk to the success of these missions as disturbances induced by the impact of these particles at hypervelocity may degrade the platform stability below operational requirements.

In this thesis, disturbances induced by the impact of M/SD particles at hypervelocity on a representative scientific satellite platform have been investigated. An extensive experimental impact test program has been performed, from which an empirical ballistic limit equation (BLE) which defines the conditions of structural perforation for composite sandwich panel structures with CFRP facesheets and aluminium honeycomb cores (CFRP/Al HC SP) has been defined. The BLE is used to predict impact conditions capable of inducing the different excitation modes relevant for a SP sandwich panel structure, enabling a significant reduction in the time and expense usually required for calibrating the protective capability of a new structural configuration.

As experimental acceleration facilities are unable to cover the complete range of possible in-orbit impact conditions relevant for M/SD impact risk assessment, a Hydrocode model of the representative CFRP/Al HC SP has been constructed. A series of impact simulations have been performed during which the local impact-induced disturbance has been measured. The numerical disturbance signals have been validated via comparison with experimental disturbance measurements, and subsequently subject to a characterisation campaign to define the local elastic excitation of the SP structure equivalent to that induced by impact of a M/SD particle at hypervelocity. The disturbance characterisation is made such that it is applicable as an excitation force on a global satellite Finite Element (FE) model, allowing propagation of impact-induced disturbances throughout the complete satellite body to regions of critical stability (i.e. measurement devices). The disturbance induced upon measurement devices by M/SD impacts at both near- and far-body locations can then be made, allowing the threat to mission objectives to be assessed.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Keyword(s) Artificial satellites -- Design and construction
Composite materials
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