Structural Deformation of Sandwich Composite Heliostats
Anderson, T; Fadlallah, S; Nates, R
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The cost of heliostats has a significant influence on the cost of central tower concentrating solar power systems. To address this issue there is a need for new innovative heliostat designs that can reduce the heliostats’ cost without affecting its tracking performance. One way of reducing this cost is by utilizing lightweight sandwich composites in the design of the heliostat structure. However, there are some challenges in implementing such systems, particularly with respect to wind loads. In this respect, the aim of this study was to computationally investigate the interaction between the wind and sandwich composites employed as a heliostat mirror support structure. The results show that the maximum resultant displacement of the composite structure heliostat surface was within the commonly accepted limits for optical alignment. This demonstrates the potential for sandwich composites to be utilized in a lightweight heliostat support structure capable of withstanding wind loads.