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A Novel Approach for Designing Parabolic Mirrors Using Optimized Compliant Bands

[+] Author Affiliations
Lifang Li

Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin, Heilongjiang, China

Andres Kecskemethy

University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg, Germany

A. F. M. Arif

King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Steven Dubowsky

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Paper No. DETC2011-47096, pp. 3-11; 9 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 6: 35th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 28–31, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5483-9
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Parabolic concentrator mirrors are an important component of many solar energy systems, particularly solar mirror collectors. Precision parabolic mirrors are expensive to fabricate and to transport. Here, a new concept for designing and fabricating precision parabolic mirrors is presented. The mirror is formed from a thin flat very flexible metal sheet with a highly reflective surface. Attached to the rear surface of the mirror sheet is a backbone band whose figure is optimized to form the reflective sheet into a precision parabola when its two ends are pulled toward each other. An analytical model to optimize the shape of the band is presented. The validity of the concept is demonstrated using Finite Element Analysis and laboratory experiments. The concept would permit flat mirror elements to be easily fabricated and efficiently packaged and shipped to field sites and assembled into the parabolic trough concentrators with potentially substantial costs reductions compared with conventional methods.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME
Topics: Design , Mirrors



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