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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2015, Article ID 196186, 8 pages
Research Article

Construction and Optical Testing of Inflatable Membrane Mirror Using Structured Light Technique

1Instituto de Física, Universidad Autónoma de San Luís Potosí, Manuel Nava No. 6, Zona Universitaria, 78290 San Luis Potosí, SLP, Mexico
2Universidad del Istmo, Campus Tehuantepec, Ciudad Universitaria s/n, Barrio Santa Cruz, 4a Sección, 70760 Santo Domingo Tehuantepec, OAX, Mexico
3Universidad Tecnológica de la Mixteca, Carretera Acatlima Km 2.5, 69000 Huajuapan de León, OAX, Mexico

Received 5 February 2015; Revised 22 April 2015; Accepted 9 June 2015

Academic Editor: Yong Shuai

Copyright © 2015 Felipe Patiño-Jiménez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Construction and characterization of an inflatable mirror prototype made out of flexible polymeric membranes are being presented. Surfaces were curved by imposing a slight excess of air pressure. Lightweighted, lowcost, and commercially available materials were selected in order to produce solar concentration elements at competitive prices. In this sense, large-area, image-forming mirrors with low optical acuity were achieved by concentration purposes. Optical characterization of the mirror’s shape at a given pressure or curvature radius was done by means of a structuredlight technique with a resolution of 0.1 mm finding a conical shape acquired by the inflated mirror as the best approximation. Concentration ratio achieved for a focal length of 5068 mm was of 25.1 suns, making a promising approach for lowering initial investment costs in applications such as hot-water, parabolic dish with Stirling engines, or concentrated photovoltaic electricity generation.