NUMERICAL MODELING OF SPACE STRUCTURES
The design of astronautic structures is always a trade-off between weight, complexity, manufacturing cost and the ability of withstanding the loads during the launch and the operational life. One of the most powerful and commonly used tools for the structural design is the Finite Element Method (FEM). In the School of Aerospace Engineering FEM analysis is used for modeling the structure of small satellites and their payloads (such as CubeSats), and also for bigger structures (such as antennas, or separation systems such as the one developed for the LARES mission. The course will discuss the most common design techniques for space structures using statics and dynamics FEM analysis. Practical examples using FEM software will be presented to better understand specific problems. The course is focused on the following topics: Stress and strain state around a generic point by continuum mechanics theory, Use of most common software for pre and post processing in structural mechanics, Specific design techniques for space structures, Theory of Finite element analysis: static and dynamics, Practical Finite element analysis with freeware software.