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Sardinia radio telescope finite element model updating by means of photogrammetric measurements

Flavio Stochino's picture

 The 64 m diameter Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT), located near Cagliari (Italy), is the world’s second largest fully steerable radio telescope with an active surface. Among its peculiarities is the capability of modifying the configuration of the primary mirror surface by means of electromechanical actuators. This capability enables, within a fixed range, balancing of the deformation caused by external loads. In this way, the difference between the ideal shape of the mirror (which maximizes its performance) and the actual surface can be reduced. The control loop of the radio telescope needs a procedure that is able to predict SRT deformation, with the required accuracy, in order to reduce deviation from the ideal shape. To achieve this aim, a finite element model that can accurately predict the displacements of the structure is required. Unfortunately, the finite element model of the SRT, although very refined, does not give completely satisfactory results, since it does not take into account essential pieces of information, for instance, thermal strains and assembly defects. This paper explores a possible update of the finite element model using only the benchmark data available, i.e. the photogrammetric survey developed during the setup of the reflecting surface. This updating leads to a significant reduction in the differences between photogrammetric data and results of the numerical model. The effectiveness of this tuning procedure is then assessed.

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