Structural Analysis of the Morphable Mirror Telescope
Current mirror telescopes require expensive, rigid, and heavy supports to maintain its mirror’s parabolic shape. Our lab is developing a morphable mirror telescope that uses linear actuators to maintain the mirror’s shape, thus reducing costs of the telescope. This project focuses on a small portion of our telescope’s backing structure, called a unit. Through finite elemental analysis, the goal is to determine the load required to displace a small node of the unit a maximum of ten microns. This load should be equal to, or better yet, greater than the weight of the unit. The data our lab collected supports our goal of a ten micron displacement maximum, achieving loads greatly exceeding the required load. By confirming the stability of our unit, we can proceed to develop and test a larger model of the telescope’s backing structure.