Degradation of Spacesuit Fabrics on Low Earth Orbit
Gaier JR, et al. (2012). "Degradation of Spacesuit Fabrics on Low Earth Orbit."
Six samples of pristine and dust-abraded outer layer spacesuit fabrics were included in the Materials International Space Station Experiment-7, in which they were exposed to the wake-side low Earth orbit environment on the International Space Station (ISS) for 18 months in order to determine whether abrasion by lunar dust increases radiation degradation. The fabric samples were characterized using optical microscopy, optical spectroscopy, field emission scanning electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and tensile testing before and after exposure on the ISS. Comparison of pre- and post-flight characterizations showed that the environment darkened and reddened all six fabrics, increasing their integrated solar absorptance by 7 to 38 percent. There was a decrease in the ultimate tensile strength and elongation to failure of lunar dust abraded Apollo spacesuit fibers by a factor of four and an increase in the elastic modulus by a factor of two.
ISSN: NASA/TM-2012-217682, AIAA Paper-2012-3573, E-18357