Date Available


Year of Publication


Document Type





Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

John A. Main


The push towards larger diameter space telescope mirrors has caused the space industry to look at lightweight, deformable alternatives to the traditional monolithic mirror. One possible solution to the dilemma is to use the piezoelectric properties of certain materials to create a lightweight, deformable mirror. Current piezoelectric deformable mirror designs use individual actuators, creating an immensely complex system as the mirrors increase in size. The objective of this thesis is to aid in the design and development of lightweight, deformable mirrors for use in space based telescopes. Two topics are considered to aid this development. A doubly curved, lightweight, bimorph mirror is investigated. The fabrication method entails forming a thin film piezoelectric polymer into a doubly curved shape using a specially designed forming machine. The second topic entails the finite element modeling of a composite mirror substrate with a piezoceramic actuator backing. The model is generated using a meshing program designed to generate off-centered spot loads of electric potential. These spot loads simulate the actuation due to an electron gun. The effects of spot location and size on mirror deformation are examined.