In the context of strain-energy-deployed space structures, material relaxation effects play a significant role in structures that are stowed for long durations, for example, in a space vehicle prior to launch. Here, the deployment of an ultrathin carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) tape spring is studied, with the aim of understanding how long-duration stowage affects its deployment behavior. Analytical modeling and experiments show that the deployment time increases predictably with stowage time and temperature, and analytical predictions are found to compare well with experiments. For cases where stress relaxation is excessive, the structure is shown to lose its ability to deploy autonomously.

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