Sandwich Construction Solar Structural Facets
Sandwich Construction Solar Structural Facets Silver/glass mirrors have excellent optical properties but need a method of support in order to be used in concentrating solar thermal systems. In collaboration with the Cummins dish/Stirling development program, they started investigating sandwich construction as a way to integrate silver/glass mirrors into solar optical elements. In sandwich construction, membranes such as sheet metal or plastic are bonded to the front and back of a core (like a sandwich). For solar optical elements, a glass mirror is bonded to one of the membranes. This type of construction has the advantages of a high strength-to-weight ratio, and reasonable material and manufacturing cost. The inherent stiffness of sandwich construction mirror panels also facilitates large panels. This can have cost advantages for both the amount of hardware required as well as reduced installation and alignment costs. In addition, by incorporating the panels into the support structure reductions in the amount of structural support required are potentially possible.
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