Shape control of multi-cellular inflatable panels

N. Katayama*, K. Ishimura, K. Minesugi, Daniel J. Inman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multi-cellular inflatable structures are ultralight and robust against membrane damage such as pinholes caused by space debris. Due to their robustness, inflatable structures supported by inner gases can be applied as space structures. In the present study, shape control for a simple multi-cellular inflatable panel was achieved via a novel diaphragm mechanism. When the bending actuator in a center membrane bends, the inner pressures of sub-cells become different, and the diaphragm mechanism bends as a whole. Because a sliding component is not included, this deformable system is a reliable mechanism. In addition, the proposed mechanism has higher rigidity than that of a bending actuator used alone. In the present paper, we investigate the feasibility of a novel diaphragm mechanism and its characteristics using experimental and numerical results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-282
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers of Mechanical Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • Membrane structures
  • inflatable structure
  • shape control
  • smart structures
  • space engineering
  • structural mechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering


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