Investigation of the thermoelastic effect on the satellite panels identified by an industrial problem of de-pointing

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Satellite system design in most circumstances demands “distortion free” behaviour or a quantifiable and budgeted system approach with respect to structural distortion for on-station pointing performance. Due to variation in material properties through the spacecraft structure and payload and temperature gradients the structure will deform under such conditions, hence this will affect pointing vectors or the Line of Sight of critical payloads. As has been discovered, industrial practice at Airbus DS in particular approaches this problem using finite element techniques established by years of experience and practical tests. However this approach does not provide an accurate enough tool for the prediction of coupling effects between the mechanical deformation and the thermal loading, which would guarantee high accuracy of the thermo-elastic model. The finite element approach as well as experimental tests were both unable to simulate the deformation effect within the honeycomb core, noting that has a nonlinear nature of deformation and could contribute to the inaccuracy of the model output. Therefore in this thesis a partially-coupled analytical thermo-mechanical model has been developed to provide Airbus DS with a tool for the prediction of the displacement within a typical honeycomb panel, taking into account the coupling between the mechanical and thermal effects. The model predicts the displacement of the panel taking into account dynamic mechanical and thermal loadings and is capable of predicting the heat distribution along the thickness of the panel core. The work concludes with a guide for use of the analytical model and also with a discussion and suggestions for how Airbus DS could investigate other phenomena caused by parasitic vibration which could potentially contribute to the problem of de-pointing.
Date of Award6 Mar 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorMatthew Cartmell (Supervisor) & Massimiliano Vasile (Supervisor)

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