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Mechanical Properties Degradation of Teflon(Trademark) FEP Returned from the Hubble Space TelescopeAfter 6.8 years on orbit, degradation has been observed in the mechanical properties of second-surface metalized Teflon(Reg) FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene) used on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) on the outer surface of the multi-layer insulation (MLI) blankets and on radiator surfaces. Cracking of FEP surfaces on HST was first observed upon close examination of samples with high solar exposure retrieved during the first servicing mission (SM1) conducted 3.6 years after HST was put into orbit. Astronaut observations and photographs from the second servicing mission (SM2), conducted after 6.8 years on orbit, revealed severe cracks in the FEP surfaces of the MLI on many locations around the telescope. This paper describes results of mechanical properties testing of FEP surfaces exposed for 3.6 years and 6.8 years to the space environment on HST. These tests include tensile testing, surface micro-hardness testing, and bend testing.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Dever, Joyce A.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
deGroh, Kim K.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Townsend, Jacqueline A.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Wang, L. Len
(Unisys Corp. Greenbelt, MD United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1998
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper 98-0895
NAS 1.15:206618
Meeting Information
Meeting: Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit
Location: Reno, NV
Country: United States
Start Date: January 12, 1998
End Date: January 15, 1998
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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