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Determination of Ground-Laboratory to In-Space Effective Atomic Oxygen Fluence for DC 93?500 SiliconeThe objective of this research was to calibrate the ground-to-space effective atomic oxygen fluence for DC 93-500 silicone in a thermal energy electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) oxygen plasma facility. Silicones, commonly used spacecraft materials, do not chemically erode with atomic oxygen attack like other organic materials but form an oxidized hardened silicate surface layer. Therefore, the effective atomic oxygen fluence in a ground test facility should not be determined based on mass loss measurements, as they are with organic polymers. A technique has been developed at the Glenn Research Center to determine the equivalent amount of atomic oxygen exposure in an ECR ground test facility to produce the same degree of atomic oxygen damage as in space. The approach used was to compare changes in the surface hardness of ground test (ECR) exposed DC 93-500 silicone with DC 93-500 exposed to low Earth orbit (LEO) atomic oxygen as part of a shuttle flight experiment. The ground to in-space effective atomic oxygen fluence correlation was determined based on the fluence in the ECR source that produced the same hardness for the fluence in-space. Nanomechanical hardness versus contact depth measurements were obtained for five ECR exposed DC 93-500 samples (ECR exposed for 18 to 40 hrs, corresponding to Kapton effective fluences of 4.2 x 10(exp 20) to 9.4 x 10(exp 20) atoms/sq cm, respectively) and for space exposed DC 93-500 from the Evaluation of Oxygen Interactions with Materials III (EOIM III) shuttle flight experiment, exposed to LEO atomic oxygen for 2.3 x 10(exp 20) atoms/sq cm. Pristine controls were also evaluated. A ground-to-space correlation value was determined based on correlation values for four contact depths (150, 200, 250, and 300 nm), which represent the near surface depth data. The results indicate that the Kapton effective atomic oxygen fluence in the ECR facility needs to be 2.64 times higher than in LEO to replicate equivalent exposure damage in the ground test silicone as occurred in the space exposed silicone.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
deGroh, Kim K. (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Banks, Bruce A. (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Ma, David (Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. Sunnyvale, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 2004
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Seventh International Conference on Protection of Materials and Structures from Space Environment(Toronto)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 319-20-E1
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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