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Research on design of adaptive connecting mechanisms for the cable-net and panels of FAST

Peng Jiang, Qing-Wei Li, Ren-Dong Nan


The reflector system of the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) is designed to incorporate 4450 rigid panels supported by a flexible cable-net structure. The shape-changing operation that occurs in the process of observation will lead to a relative displacement between adjacent nodes in the cable-net. In addition, three nodes on a rigid panel are fixed with respect to each other. Thus, adaptive connecting mechanisms between panels and the cable-net are certainly needed. The present work focuses on the following aspects. Firstly, the degrees of freedom of adaptive connecting mechanisms were designed so that we can not only adapt the panel to the deformation of the cable-net, but also restrict the panel to its right place. Secondly, finite element and theoretical analyses were applied to calculate the scope of motion in adaptive connecting mechanisms during the cable-net’s shape-changing operation, thus providing input parameters for the design size of the adaptive connecting mechanisms. In addition, the gap size between the panels is also investigated to solve the trade-off between avoiding panel collisions and increasing the observation efficiency of FAST.


telescopes — Astronomical Instrumentation, Methods and Techniques — methods: analytical — methods: data analysis

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