Fundamental performance of a smart structural system utilizing thermal expansion for pointing

Takeshi Shimada*, Kosei Ishimura, Kawano Taro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study involved designing and developing a smart structural system for pointing control of large-scale trusses. The system consisted of a pointing control mechanism, an internal displacement-sensor, and a controller. The significant points of the system included the following: (1) artificial thermal expansions of truss members were utilized as linear actuators, (2) elastic hinges were employed instead of ball joints, and (3) the internal displacement-sensor that did not require external jigs and possessed high measuring accuracy was applied. The study involved conducting a feasibility study and an experimental demonstration. The results indicated that the pointing control mechanism produced a sufficient tilt angle to satisfy typical requirements of recent scientific satellites. Furthermore, the findings confirmed that the hysteresis of the pointing control mechanism could be kept sufficiently small due to the absence of sliding parts. The difference between the finite element analysis and the measured value corresponded to 2:9% for a 3:6m long truss. Additionally, the results suggested that the proposed smart structural system for pointing exhibited high control accuracy and tracking performance for a periodic motion. The root mean square error value for a circular trajectory with a radius of 500µm for a period of 15 min corresponded to 4:6% for the 3:6m long truss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1397-1408
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May 1
Externally publishedYes


  • optical bench
  • pointing control
  • smart structural system
  • thermal expansion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering


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