Year of Publication


Document Type





Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Suzanne Weaver Smith


The term Gossamer is used to describe ultra-lightweight spacecraft structures that solve the aerospace challenge of obtaining maximum performance while reducing the launch costs of the spacecraft. Gossamer structures are extremely compliant, which complicates control design and ground testing in full scale. One approach is to design and construct smaller test articles and verify their computational models experimentally, so that similar computational models can be used to predict the dynamic performance of full-scale structures. Though measurement of both in-plane and out-of-plane displacements is required to characterize the dynamic response of the surface of these structures, this thesis lays the groundwork for dynamic measurement of the in-plane component. The measurement of thin films must be performed using non-contacting sensors because any contacting sensor would change the dynamics of the structure. Moreover, the thin films dealt with in this work are coated with either gold or aluminum for special applications making the film optically smooth and therefore requiring a surface pattern. A Krypton Fluoride excimer laser system was selected to fabricate patterns on thin-film mirror test articles. Parameters required for pattern fabrication were investigated. Effects of the pattern on the thin-film dynamics were studied using finite element analysis. Photogrammetry was used to study the static in-plane displacement of the thin-film mirror. This was performed to determine the feasibility of the photogrammetric approach for future dynamic tests. It was concluded that photogrammetry could be used efficiently to quantify dynamic in-plane displacement with high-resolution cameras and sub-pixel target marking.