Design and Evaluation of a Reinforced Advanced-Grid Stiffened Composite Structure
CSA ENGINEERING INC ALBUQUERQUE NM
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A composite grid-stiffened structure concept was selected for the payload fairing of the Minotaur launch vehicle. Compared to previous designs, this concept is lighter weight and requires reduced manufacturing costs. Various failure mechanisms were examined for the composite grid-stiffened structure. The controlling criterion for this design was determined to be joint peel-off failure. The identification of this failure mechanism and the assessment of bounding strains to control it, required extensive test and analysis effort. The final fairing design incorporated an undesirably thick skin to reduce the strain between the skin and ribs. This project investigated a means of controlling joint failure of the un-reinforced grid-stiffened structure in an effort to reduce the skin thickness. Implementing lightweight foam inserts between the stiffeners on the interior of the fairing delayed failure to higher loads. A foam reinforced test panel, designed with equal mass to the current structure, withstood a substantially greater compressive force. The alternative concept also demonstrated an improved response, failing in global buckling instead of experiencing early failure due to joint strain.
- Laminates and Composite Materials
- Fluid Mechanics
- Unmanned Spacecraft