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.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.