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Design and Fabrication of Deployable Boom

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Our customer is the leading institute of the country, engaged in basic and applied research in Atmospheric and Space Physics. They were aiming to conduct high altitude balloon experiment for measurements of electric and magnetic fields. The probes, in this case three pairs of 200 mm sphere, were to be deployed 4m away from the gondola of the balloon shortly after initial take-off. Thus, the experiment required design and development of reliable light-weight booms with minimal tip deflection.

Zeus Numerix explored various different concepts of boom opening mechanisms. A collapsible type opening was selected for detailed design and prototyping. The entire system was made with lighter weight material and with mechanical joints. Initially the arm remains in folded condition with a solenoid holding it. On actuation of the solenoid, the arms open up with the help of springs. All the design calculations for various components were verified using FEA analysis.

Illustration
Photograph of a prototype during the design stages

The customer was delivered with six sets of deployable booms that were readily integrated with the gondola. These booms are being used by the customer for atmospheric experiments. The process of boom development did not encounter any need for costly concept revision since the design was derived from first principles of structural mechanics.

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