An Analysis of an Inflatable Module for Planetary Surfaces

by Paul S. Nowak, Colorado State Univ, Fort Collins, United States,
Willy Z. Sadeh, Colorado State Univ, Fort Collins, United States,
Marvin E. Criswell, Colorado State Univ, Fort Collins, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space III


Design and construction of a structure on planetary surfaces requires addressing a host of issues not encountered on Earth. A modular quilted inflatable structure consisting of thin membranes of composite material integrated with supporting columns and arches is proposed. An initial linear analysis of the structure is briefly reviewed. The actual response of an inflatable membrane is nonlinear and, hence, a nonlinear numerical analysis of the stresses and displacements was undertaken. Results based on the loadings on a lunar structure clearly indicate that an inflatable structure is a feasible concept and is ideally suited for a planetary surface structure.

Subject Headings: Structural analysis | Linear analysis | Modular structures | Composite materials | Structural design | Stress analysis | Space structures

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