Lee, J. and Nikolaidis, E., "Reliability Analysis of Composite Inflatable Space Structures Considering Fracture Failure," SAE Technical Paper 2014-01-0715, 2014, doi:10.4271/2014-01-0715.
Inflatable space structures can have lower launching cost and larger habitat volume than their conventional rigid counterparts. These structures are made of composite laminates, and they are flexible when folded and partially inflated. They contain light-activated resins, and can be cured with the sun light after being inflated in space.A spacecraft can burst due to cracks caused by meteor showers or debris. Therefore, it is critical to identify the important fracture failure modes, and assess their probability. This information will help a designer minimize the risk of failure and keep the mass and cost low.This paper presents a probabilistic approach for finding the required thickness of an inflatable habitat shell for a prescribed reliability level, and demonstrates the superiority of probabilistic design to its deterministic counterpart.