TEMBO® Elastic Memory Composite Hinges (EMCH)
Composite Technology Development (CTD) Lafayette, CO

Elastic Memory Composite Hinges (EMCH) were developed by CTD for deploying solar arrays, communications, and optical systems in space. They are designed to drive and dampen the deployment of a structure and hold the structure firmly at the end of deployment with no dead band. Combining carbon fiber reinforcement and shape-memory polymers, the hinges are constructed of TEMBO® composites, which replace complex mechanical deployment systems with lighter ones.

A view of the flight hardware containing several EMCH hinges visible through a Lexan window used for images of the hinges during testing.

The TEMBO® EMC hinges recently were sent into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as part of an experiment sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright- Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Approximately five days after launch, the EMCH experiment was transferred to the International Space Station (ISS), where it was scheduled to reside for 18 months.

The experiment was comprised of six TEMBO® EMC hinges that were packaged and deployed by the ISS crew. Numerous package and deployment cycles of the experimental hardware aim to test the robustness and reliability of the hinges, and validate design assumptions made about operation of the hinge in zero gravity.

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