Toward Inflatable Structures with Functional Phase Transitions: An Upto- Date Review with a View of Potentials
Benjamin F. Dorfman
Affiliation: Atomic-Scale Design, Inc., 229 19th Avenue No. 9, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA.
Keywords: Space, space exploration, inflatable structures, smart inflatable structures, tunable albedo, phase transitions,
tuneable phase transition, metal - insulator transitions
Dynamic inflatable structures may complement rigid structures in their long-term mission or permanent life in
space. Multifunctional inflatable structures may serve as replaceable co-journeyers, temporal extensions, flexible arms
and “sense organs” of rigid structures. Mass-energy effective and sensitive phase transitions are particularly feasible as a
physical base for many functions of ultra-light inflatable structures. In this course, the article suggests a dual conceptual
patent review: for space inflatable structures and for functionally employed phase transitions patented in the field of space
technology or potentially applicable for it. On a quality level, smart inflatable structures with intrinsic phase-transitional
properties are considered as well. The method of durable protection extending the life and functions of inflatable
structures is also reviewed.
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