Mechanical property determination for flexible material systems
Hill, Jeremy Lee
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Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators (IADs) are a candidate technology NASA began investigating in the late 1960’s. Compared to supersonic parachutes, IADs represent a decelerator option capable of operating at higher Mach numbers and dynamic pressures. IADs have seen a resurgence in interest from the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) community in recent years. The NASA Space Technology Roadmap (STR) highlights EDL systems, as well as, Materials, Structures, Mechanical Systems, and Manufacturing (MSMM) as key Technology Areas for development in the future; recognizing deployable decelerators, flexible material systems, and computational design of materials as essential disciplines for development. This investigation develops a multi-scale flexible material modeling approach that enables efficient high-fidelity IAD design and a critical understanding of the new materials required for robust and cost effective qualification methods. The approach combines understanding of the fabric architecture, analytical modeling, numerical simulations, and experimental data. This work identifies an efficient method that is as simple and as fast as possible for determining IAD material characteristics while not utilizing complicated or expensive research equipment. This investigation also recontextualizes an existing mesomechanical model through validation for structures pertaining to the analysis of IADs. In addition, corroboration and elaboration of this model is carried out by evaluating the effects of varying input parameters. Finally, the present investigation presents a novel method for numerically determining mechanical properties. A sub-scale section that captures the periodic pattern in the material (unit cell) is built. With the unit cell, various numerical tests are performed. The effective nonlinear mechanical stiffness matrix is obtained as a function of elemental strains through correlating the unit cell force-displacement results with a four node membrane element of the same size. Numerically determined properties are validated for relevant structures. Optical microscopy is used to capture the undeformed geometry of the individual yarns.