Wall panel structure design optimization of a hexagonal satellite

Reda, Reham and Ahmed, Yasmeen and Magdy, Islam and Nabil, Hossam and Khamis, Mennatullah and Lila, Mohamed Abo and Refaey, Ahmed and Eldabaa, Nada and Elmagd, Manar Abo and Ragab, Adham E. and Elsayed, Ahmed (2024) Wall panel structure design optimization of a hexagonal satellite. Heliyon, 10 (2). e24159. ISSN 2405-8440 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e24159)

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Considering that it satisfies high strength and stiffness at a low weight, the grid structure is the ideal option for meeting the requirements for developing the wall panel structure for the satellite. The most attractive grid structures for the satellite wall panel industry are isogrid and honeycomb structures. The first part of this work involves studying the mechanical and dynamic performance of five designs for the satellite wall panel made of 7075-T0 Al-alloy. These designs include two isogrid structures with different rib widths, two honeycomb structures with different cell wall thicknesses, and a solid structure for comparison. The performance of these designs was evaluated through compression, bending, and vibration testing using both finite element analysis (FEA) with the Ansys workbench and experimental testing. The FEA results are consistent with the experimental ones. The results show that the isogrid structure with a lower rib thickness of 2 mm is the best candidate for manufacturing the satellite wall panel, as this design reveals the best mechanical and dynamic performance. The second part of this work involves studying the influence of the length of the sides of the best isogrid structure in the range of 12 mm–24 mm on its mechanical and dynamic performance to achieve the lowest possible mass while maintaining the structure's integrity. Then, a modified design of skinned wall panels was introduced and dynamically tested using FEA. Finally, a CAD model of a hexagonal satellite prototype using the best-attained design of the wall panel, i.e., the isogrid structure with a 2 mm rib width and 24 mm-long sides, was built and dynamically tested to ensure its safe design against vibration. Then, the satellite prototype was manufactured, assembled, and successfully assessed.