Estimation of Elastic and Damping Characteristics of Viscoelastically Constrained Carbon Strands
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Traditional large space structure construction incorporates the use of lightweight tubular metal alloys that have good strength to weight and stiffness to weight ratio. Recently, however, space structure construction has shifted focus on materials that are ultra lightweight, have high strength, have low package volume and possess excellent damping characteristics. Substantial damping is required in space since there is no surrounding medium to provide damping. Such a construction uses composites in a fabric form that displays viscoelastic behavior. The viscoelastic behavior is attributed to energy dissipation because of the shear stresses between the various fibrous strands that are kept in place by constraining viscoelastic layers. This type of vibration control falls under the rubric of passive damping of structures and has been found to have certain advantages over active damping such as less complexity as it does not require sensors, actuators and power supply that are needed for active damping.
One such material consists of woven carbon strands constrained by layers of viscoelastic damping material. Dynamics and buckling behavior of a structure in the form of a tube made from this material with metallic end caps is modeled and analyzed using commercially available Finite Element Analysis code ABAQUSÂ®. The current analysis deals with the non-pressurized tube since the structure can maintain the tubular configuration as well as support end caps on account of the stiffness provided by the composites. Since no simple analytical approaches are available to predict damping of these materials, experimental data was used to estimate the damping characteristics of the material. The mass of the end cap was also estimated from the experimental impulse response as exact mass of the end cap (that was rigidly fixed to the tube) was unknown.
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