Undercutting Studies of Protected Kapton H Exposed to In-Space and Ground-Based Atomic Oxygen
Snyder A, et al. (2006). " Undercutting Studies of Protected Kapton H Exposed to In-Space and Ground-Based Atomic Oxygen."
This study is part of a Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) sequence to characterize the performance of prospective spacecraft materials when subjected to the synergistic effects of the space environment. Atomic oxygen (AO) is the most prevalent species in low earth orbit (LEO). In this environment AO is mainly responsible for the erosion of hydrocarbons and halocarbon polymers. The AO erosion rates of Kapton (DuPont) H are known and well documented. Hence, it is customary to compare the AO erosion yields of candidate materials to the commonly accepted standard of this polyimide. The purpose of this study was to provide characterization of AO degradation of SiO(x) protected Kapton H film, which was subject during MISSE 2 to undercutting erosion beneath microscopic defects in the protective film, and compare the degradation resulting from hyperthermal ram (approx.4.5 eV) LEO AO to the degradation resulting from exposure to thermal ground-based (approx.0.04 eV) AO.
ISSN: NASA/TM-2006-214387, E-15665