Surface Modifications to Minimise the the Electrostatic Charging of Kapton in the Space Environment,
ATOMIC ENERGY RESEARCH ESTABLISHMENT HARWELL (ENGLAND)
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Electrostatic charging of Kapton under electron irradiation is reduced by coating it with a dispersion of indium oxide in a soluble polyimide. The proportion of oxide in the coating and its thickness are chosen to give an optimum balance between the surface resistivity and the thermo-optical properties of the film. Coatings having a resistivity 10 million ohmssquare exhibited surface voltages below 250V when irradiated with 30keV electrons. Implanting Kapton with ions derived from N2, H2, or CH4, plasmas also gave low surface resistivities and reduced its susceptibility to electrostatic charging. Hydrogen ions were the most effective, but caused greater changes in thermo-optical properties than the ions of the other gases. The above materials are easily and economically produced and may therefore offer practicable alternatives to the existing modified forms of Kapton when it is necessary to minimise electrostatic charging on spacecraft.
- Electricity and Magnetism
- Unmanned Spacecraft