Our research on ultralight spacecraft structures combines advanced packaging techniques, often inspired by origami techniques, with the use of polymer films and ultrathin composite materials. We design and build small-scale physical demonstrators of the novel structural concepts that we are working on, to better understand their behavior. The main applications of current interest are solar collectors and antenna structures.
Comparisons between experiments and numerical simulations are key features of our research. We develop sophisticated numerical simulations that, once they have been shown to successfully capture the behavior observed in the experiments, are used to explore the design space for a particular concept. Our objective is to gain the insights that will enable future designers to achieve the performance they require with confidence.