The deployment behaviour of inflatable booms with zigzag and modified zigzag folding patterns is experimentally and theoretically investigated in this paper with the aim to deploy the booms as the actuator for future deployable large-scale membrane structures. Regarding the experimental approach, the stable deployment of a modified zigzag folding pattern is demonstrated, and the relation between stable and unstable deployment behaviour is considered in relation to air pressure and flow rate. In terms of the theoretical approach, the folding process and deployment behaviour are simulated using commercially available software (PAM-CRACH and PAM-SAFE). To create folding lines from the zero stress condition in the case of analytical inflatable boom models, the stress distribution and the shapes of the folding lines are considered for the initial self-deployment behaviour and deployment behaviour using the uniform pressure method. From the folding experiments and the results of folding analyses and UPM, the deployment behaviour of inflatable boom models in zigzag and modified zigzag folding patterns is compared by using the finite point-set method. For the sequential deployment behaviour, which is difficult to replicate, the uniform pressure method is used for the calculations, and the relation between inlet air flow and stable deployment behaviour is discussed through comparison of the experimental and analytical results.
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