Browse Publications Technical Papers 2003-01-2327

Optimization of Inflatable, Optically Transparent Space Structures 2003-01-2327

This document describes the results and methodology of a study to optimize the shape of the inflatable, optically transparent portion of a Martian greenhouse. The inflatable portion is comprised of individual, square patches, which are optimized for maximum, optical transmittance and minimum internal stress. The preferred Sequential Quadratic Programming optimization methodology requires the structural responses of the pressure loaded patch and the gradients of these responses to predict the optimized shape. The structural responses are obtained from nonlinear finite element methods. The Corrotational formulation was the chosen non-linear, finite element formulation with a load controlled, Newton Raphson solver. The gradients are obtained from a sensitivity analysis, which determines how the structural responses depend on the optimization variables. This paper discusses the details of these processes.


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