UV Rigidizable Structural Composite Tube Using Internal UV Generating Chemical Reaction
The invention is a structural composite tube that is initially flexible and will be folded up to reduce its storage space requirements. The composite tube will then be inflated with a gas to unfold and deploy it. After it is deployed a chemical combustion reaction will generate sufficient ultraviolet light to cause a second chemical reaction in the flexible composite material to make it rigid. The tube will then be capable of functioning as a structure and will support a mechanical load. The invention is originally intended as being the structural member to support an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) aircraft wing. This would allow the UAV’s wings to be compactly stored and then deployed for flight when necessary. In the anticipated applications a rapid deployment time is essential therefore the design has been tailored such this process can occur on the order of tens of seconds.
There is strong anticipated use for this invention for small or large UAVs that can be released from a larger aircraft near the operating airspace intended for the UAV. This design may also be used for UAVs sent via spacecraft to other planets which an aircraft can be flown for various purposes. The invention may also be used for any application which requires one or more cylindrical tubes to support a structural load where the inventions ability to change from compact to full size in a short period is an advantage such as emergency structures, i.e. bridges, tents, scaffolds, antennas, fences, towers, masts, etc.
European Patent 2516256 Issued in France, Germany, Great Britain