Sandia National Labs FY20 LDRD Annual Report


Extremely lightweight optical structures for rapid deployment. Sandia researchers used origami-style folding of photo-etched and micro-welded sheet metal along with 3D-printed metal, to create ultra-lightweight structures for spaceborne optical systems. While traditional light-weighting starts with a heavy block of material that is then cut away to make thin walls and ribs, this research effort starts with much thinner material and folds it to create the stiff structures required by the design. Photo-etching creates the shapes and fold lines for easy assembly. The new method realized structure weight savings of >90% and 20% diameter reduction compared to traditional space system optical design methods, with designs that are both less expensive and more quickly realized than standard machined assemblies. This technology can enable compact, affordable, and rapidly produced systems for cubesats/smallsats with scalable advantages for larger space payloads. (PI: Edward Winrow)

(Left to right) Folded and hybrid 3D-printed ultralight optical structures (folded and unfolded lens sub-cell components), solar shade design (fold and weld detail), flexible structures based on miura-ori fold patterns, miura-ori reinforced cylinder, and topology optimization model. Developing a validated multiscale plasma engineering design tool. The Plasma Science & Engineering Grand Challenge LDRD developed advanced multiscale computational plasma physics models and demonstrated integration between modeling and surface physics theory and supporting experimentation. This led to 30-40X speed and reduced 150-day power flow design calculations to several days. With the speed up, Z machine programs have increased shot resources for power flow studies by 2.5X. This enabled

a revolutionary plasma engineering capability impacting pulsed power accelerators, select nuclear weapon components, radiation effects qualifica- tion, reentry vehicle plasma sheaths, high-power electromagnetic diodes, and high energy density science. Efforts on development and application are continuing. (Leads: George Laity, Allen Robinson, Michael Cuneo)

The Plasma Science & Engineering Grand Challenge demonstrated and verified rapid full-physics Z power flow simulation through development of complementary CHIGACO and EMPIRE code technologies. (Above) A cross section of the Z generator that notes the portion simulated by the Grand Challenge as “simulation volume.”



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