Flight Experiment Results of the Polysiloxane-Block-Polyimide “BSF-30” on the JEM/MPAC&SEED Mission on the ISS
Miyazaki, Eiji, et al. (2013). "Flight Experiment Results of the Polysiloxane-Block-Polyimide “BSF-30” on the JEM/MPAC&SEED Mission on the ISS." Protection of Materials and Structures From the Space Environment 32: 295-302
Atomic oxygen (AO) in low Earth orbit (LEO) is one of the most dangerous environmental factors leading to erosion of the external materials of a spacecraft. As one of the methods to improve AO tolerance, the use of silicon-containing materials has been proposed. On such materials, an SiO2 layer is formed from the reaction of the silicon contained in the material and the AO existing in orbit, which can therefore be called a “self-organized” layer. In the present study, polysiloxane-block-polyimide “BSF-30”, which is a silicon-containing polyimide, was investigated by ground testing and in a flight experiment. BSF-30 was exposed to the LEO space environment on the Japanese Experimental Module/Micro Particles Capturer & Space Environment Exposure Device (JEM/MPAC&SEED) mission on the ISS for 8.5 months. As a result, a mass loss of 0.011 mg was measured, which is about 1/500 times smaller than that of a common polyimide. From a cross sectional transmission electron microscopy analysis the formation of a layer about ~50 nm thick was observed on the exposed surface, within which high fractions of Si and O were also detected. In conclusion, it is verified that BSF-30 has sufficient AO tolerance in a LEO environment by the JEM/MPAC&SEED.