Elastic Memory Composite Technology for Thin, Lightweight Space and Ground-Based Deployable Mirrors

Steven C. Arzberger*, Naseem A. Munshi, Mark S. Lake, Joe Wintergerst, Steven Varlese, M. P. Ulmer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


A novel shape memory composite material for the fabrication of thin, lightweight deployable mirrors is presented. The material has been evaluated for shape memory performance and dimensional stability. In addition, preliminary efforts have been directed toward the fabrication of lab-scale, replica mirrors. The concept combines a shape memory composite substrate with an electroplated metal reflective surface to provide a thin mirror with the ability to be deformed for packaging with good shape-recovery on deployment and reasonable post-deployed compliance that facilitates active shape control. The shape memory composite substrates are composed of Elastic Memory Composite (EMC) materials with appropriate reinforcements (i.e. fibers, particulates, or nanoreinforcements). The reflective surfaces are composed primarily of electroplated nickel with a variety of surface preparations to promote good adhesion to the composite substrate and provide optical-quality reflectance. Thin (i.e. less than 508 μm or 20 mils), EMC-composite mirrors have been prepared with adhered, electroplated nickel metal surfaces, which are less than 25.4 μm (i.e. 1 mil) thick. A single method of fabrication has been examined; electroplated thin metal deposition on a mandrel followed by subsequent adhesion to an EMC laminate. Investigative results of material fabrication, packaging and deployment testing, and preliminary optical-performance testing are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2003
EventOptical Materials and Structures Technologies - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 4 2003Aug 7 2003


  • Composite-based mirror
  • Cyanate ester
  • Elastic Memory Composite (EMC)
  • Epoxy
  • Shape memory polymer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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