NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Atomic oxygen interaction at defect sights in protective coatings on polymers flown on LDEFAlthough the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) has exposed materials with a fixed orientation relative to the ambient low-Earth-orbital environment, arrival of atomic oxygen is angularly distributed as a result of the atomic oxygen's high temperature Maxwellian velocity distribution and the LDEF's orbital inclination. Thus, atomic oxygen entering defects in protective coatings on polymeric surfaces can cause wider undercut cavities than the size of the defect in the protective coating. Because only a small fraction of atomic oxygen reacts upon first impact with most polymeric materials, secondary reactions with lower energy thermally accommodated atomic oxygen can occur. The secondary reactions of scattered and/or thermally accommodated atomic oxygen also contribute to widening the undercut cavity beneath the protective coating defect. As the undercut cavity enlarges, exposing more polymer, the probability of atomic oxygen reacting with underlying polymeric material increases because of multiple opportunities for reaction. Thus, the effective atomic oxygen erosion yield for atoms entering defects increases above that of the unprotected material. Based on the results of analytical modeling and computational modeling, aluminized Kapton multilayer insulation exposed to atomic oxygen on row 9 lost the entire externally exposed layer of polyimide Kapton, yet based on the results of this investigation, the bottom surface aluminum film must have remained in place, but crazed. Atomic oxygen undercutting at defect sites in protective coatings on graphite epoxy composites indicates that between 40 to 100 percent of the atomic oxygen thermally accommodates upon impact, and that the reaction probability of thermally accommodated atomic oxygen may range from 7.7 x 10(exp -6) to 2.1 x 10(exp -3), depending upon the degree of thermal accommodation upon each impact.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Banks, Bruce A.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Degroh, Kim K.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Auer, Bruce M.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Gebauer, Linda
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Lamoreaux, Cynthia
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Marshall Space Flight Center, LDEF Materials Results for Spacecraft Applications
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

NameType 19940026519.pdf STI