NASA SBIR 2005 Solicitation


SUBTOPIC TITLE:Structures and Habitats
PROPOSAL TITLE:New Analysis and Theory of Deployable Folded Structures

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Folded Structures Company, L.L.C.
1142A Old York Road
Ringoes, NJ 08551-1045
(908) 237-1955

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Daniel   Kling
1142A Old York Road
Ringoes, NJ  08551-1045
(908) 237-1955

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
A recently developed mathematical folding theory has great value for deployable space structures and in situ manufacture of large beams, panels and cylinders. The new technology offers diverse capacity to design, manufacture, and self-assemble periodically folded sheet material. The range of materials includes many customized core materials for laminated panels, cellular habitat walls, structural beams, parabolic reflectors, and efficient truss systems that can be packaged ideally as a roll of sheet material and deployed in space by inflation or passive radiation. The algebraic linkage conditions on the deployment of a folded structure forms an over-constrained system of equations. The deployment kinetics are only possible due to engineered relationships between the neighboring facet geometry, and globally requires a uniform angular change in fold extension across the pattern. This implies that fixing an individual fold angle fixes all of the fold angles in its neighboring region. If the fold angles are all made rigid, then the entire structure is highly over-constrained and forms a very robust truss system. The goal is to introduce the technology by demonstrating the diversity of folding architectures that can be directly applied to deployable space structures, and by developing the associated design and simulation software to transfer this know-how to the engineering community.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

The proposed research will explore a comprehensive list of potential applications for this innovative materials technology including deployable structures, habitats and in situ manufacturing. This technique will permit the merger of the deployable structure with the surface covering that has been folded to reduce its storage volume. Essentially, the structural frame and the skin become one and the same. Folded materials can be integrated into space structures as rigid panels, box beams, I-beams, large rings, large cylinders, and large tori. The key logistical advantages include structures that transport in a compact, low volume configuration; assemblies that self-deploy; and elements that can be easily manufactured in space. Deployment strategies can be designed and controlled through the manipulations of the mathematical algorithms that describe the folding patterns. Other applications include stretchable fabrics, self-assembling nano-devices, self-correcting parabolic dishes, and self-healing multi-laminate flexible cloth for space suits.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

Kraft paper cores based on these folding techniques could yield a superior product to corrugated cardboard. Multi-layer paper blocks could replace Styrofoam for use in space-filling and shock absorbing. For aerospace, the folded materials could improve upon existing honeycomb cores which are used throughout any aircraft in the floors and airframe. In the civil infrastructure, doubly periodic folded steel sheets are stronger than comparable corrugated structures, and will significantly improve concrete floors. For aging bridges, the deteriorating concrete decks will be replaced by lightweight composite structures. For the transportation industry, aluminum or steel folded tessellations in flat laminated panels could be used for high strength but lightweight truck beds or automobile floors, to give resilient strength to the frame while also serving to dampen the overall vehicle vibrations. The lightweight strength and energy absorbing properties are also suited for bumpers, hoods and crash protection. The configurations can also be designed to absorb or reflect electro-magnetic waves.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Computational Materials
Large Antennas and Telescopes
Launch and Flight Vehicle
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Optical & Photonic Materials
Radiation Shielding Materials
Structural Modeling and Tools

Form Printed on 07-25-06 17:04