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Prediction of In-Space Durability of Protected Polymers Based on Ground Laboratory Thermal Energy Atomic OxygenThe probability of atomic oxygen reacting with polymeric materials is orders of magnitude lower at thermal energies (greater than O.1 eV) than at orbital impact energies (4.5 eV). As a result, absolute atomic oxygen fluxes at thermal energies must be orders of magnitude higher than orbital energy fluxes, to produce the same effective fluxes (or same oxidation rates) for polymers. These differences can cause highly pessimistic durability predictions for protected polymers and polymers which develop protective metal oxide surfaces as a result of oxidation if one does not make suitable calibrations. A comparison was conducted of undercut cavities below defect sites in protected polyimide Kapton samples flown on the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) with similar samples exposed in thermal energy oxygen plasma. The results of this comparison were used to quantify predicted material loss in space based on material loss in ground laboratory thermal energy plasma testing. A microindent hardness comparison of surface oxidation of a silicone flown on the Environmental Oxygen Interaction with Materials-III (EOIM-III) experiment with samples exposed in thermal energy plasmas was similarly used to calibrate the rate of oxidation of silicone in space relative to samples in thermal energy plasmas exposed to polyimide Kapton effective fluences.
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)
Rutledge, Sharon
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
DiFilippo, Frank J.
(Case Western Reserve Univ. Cleveland, OH United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1996
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:107209
Meeting Information
International Conference for Protection of Materials and Structures from the LEO Space Environment(Toronto)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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NameType 19960025268.pdf STI