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Investigation of Atomic Oxygen Erosion of Polyimide Kapton H Exposed to a Plasma Asher EnvironmentExperimental results are presented on the erosion characteristics of the polyimide Kapton H, which serves as a blanket material in solar arrays. This polymer has a number of characteristics that make it a suitable choice for both terrestrial and space applications. In this paper attention is focused on the durability of protected Kapton when exposed to atomic oxygen (AO) in a plasma asher. A strip of 0.025-mm thick Kapton film, coated on both sides with SiO2, was studied during a 1306 hour exposure. The erosion, located at defect sites in the protective coating and measured optically, is described in terms of volume loss as a function of AO fluence. Three simple geometric profiles are used to generate a useful array of cavity shapes to model erosion evolution. These models connect the volume erosion rate to the observed lateral expansion of the developing cavities via their diameters, measured adviacent to the upper and lower protective film, and fitted by least-squares regression to simple power law functions of fluence. The rationale for the choice of models is discussed. It was found that lateral growth in cavity size evolves less than linearly with fluence.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Snyder, Aaron
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 1999
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:209178
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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