Multidisciplinary Oxygen Atom Erosion and Surface Characterization Studies of Polyhedral Oligomeric Silsesquioxane
Final rept. 1 Mar 2001-29 Feb 2004
FLORIDA UNIV GAINESVILLE DEPT OF CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
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The objectives of this research project have been to characterize the degradation of various types of polymers under simulated space low-earth orbit LEO conditions and to develop polymers for spacecraft coatings which have improved survivability in LEO. Many polymers have been tested including kapton, polyethylene, fluoromers, polyhedral oligomeric silsequioxane POSS-containing copolymers and others. The testing was performed in an ultrahigh vacuum system which contained an atomic oxygen AO source and a vacuum ultraviolet vuv source. In some studies the polymers were also exposed to energetic electrons and ions. The chemical alterations occurring during the degradation was monitored using X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy XPS. All polymers exhibit large chemical changes. The POSS-containing polymers are particularly interesting for space applications because they form a thin silica layer which protects the underlying polymer from further degradation.
- Fluid Mechanics
- Atomic and Molecular Physics and Spectroscopy