Analysis of Composite Stretched-Membrane Heliostats

[+] Author and Article Information
H. J. Kiang, C. K. H. Dharan

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720

J. Sol. Energy Eng 111(2), 103-111 (May 01, 1989) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3268294 History: Received July 20, 1988; Revised November 20, 1988; Online November 11, 2009


The stretched-membrane concept has the potential for reducing the cost of heliostats used for solar thermal energy generation in central receiver systems. In this concept, a high strength/structural membrane carrying the reflective film is stretched uniformly on a toroidal frame. The resulting structure has high stiffness and is structurally efficient. It is practically suitable for composite materials, since the loading is primarily in-plane. In this paper, the application of composite materials to stretched-membrane heliostat design is investigated. The results of the analysis show that composite materials for both the membrane and the frame exhibit significant advantages over metals. These include high strength-to-weight design, higher resistance to wind-induced deformation, the possibility of independently tailoring bending and torsional stiffness, and better transportability.

Copyright © 1989 by ASME
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