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Effects of Ambient High Temperature Exposure on Alumina-Titania High Emittance Surfaces for Solar Dynamic SystemsSolar dynamic (SD) space power systems require durable, high emittance surfaces on a number of critical components, such as heat receiver interior surfaces and parasitic load radiator (PLR) elements. To enhance surface characteristics, an alumina-titania coating has been applied to 500 heat receiver thermal energy containment canisters and the PLR of NASA Lewis Research Center's (LeRC) 2 kW SD ground test demonstrator (GTD). The alumina-titania coating was chosen because it had been found to maintain its high emittance under vacuum (less than or equal to 10(exp -6) torr) at high temperatures (1457 F (827 C)) for an extended period (approximately 2,700 hours). However, preflight verification of SD systems components, such as the PLR require operation at ambient pressure and high temperatures. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to evaluate the durability of the alumina-titania coating at high temperature in air. Fifteen of sixteen alumina-titania coated Incoloy samples were exposed to high temperatures (600 F (316 C) to l500 F (816 C)) for various durations (2 to 32 hours). Samples, were characterized prior to and after heat treatment for reflectance, solar absorptance, room temperature emittance and emittance at 1,200 F (649 C). Samples were also examined to detect physical defects and to determine surface chemistry using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy operated with an energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) system, and x ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Visual examination of the heat-treated samples showed a whitening of samples exposed to temperatures of 1,000 F (538 C) and above. Correspondingly, the optical properties of these samples had degraded. A sample exposed to 1,500 F (816 C) for 24 hours had whitened and the thermal emittance at 1,200 F (649 C) had decreased from the non-heat treated value of 0.94 to 0.62. The coating on this sample had become embrittled with spalling off the substrate noticeable at several locations. Based on this research it is recommended that preflight testing of SD components with alumina-titania coatings be restricted to temperatures no greater than 600 F (316 C) in air to avoid optical degradation. Moreover, components with the alumina-titania coating are likely to experience optical property degradation with direct atomic oxygen exposure in space.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
deGroh, Kim K.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Smith, Daniela C.
(Cleveland State Univ. Cleveland, OH United States)
Wheeler, Donald R.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
MacLachlam, Brian J.
(Ohio Aerospace Inst. Cleveland, OH United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 1998
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:208813
Meeting Information
Space Technology and Application(Albuquerque, NM)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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