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Reducing Seal Adhesion in Low Impact Docking SystemsSilicone elastomers, used in seals for airlocks or other sealing surfaces in space, are sticky in their as-received condition. Because of the sticking, a greater force may be needed to separate the mating surfaces. If the adhesion is sufficiently high, a sudden unpredicted movement of the spacecraft during undocking, vibration, or uneven release could pull off the seal, resulting in a damage that would have to be repaired before another docking. The damaged seal can result in significant gas leakage and possibly in a catastrophic mishap impacting the safety of the crew. It is also possible that a compromised seal could result in a delayed but sudden gas leak that could put the crew at unexpected risk. This is especially of concern for androgynous seals, which have identical mating surfaces on both sides for interchangeability and redundancy. Such seals typically have elastomer-on-elastomer sealing surfaces. To reduce sticking, one could use release agents such as powders and lubricants, but these can be easily removed and transferred to other surfaces, causing uneven sealing and contamination. Modification of the elastomer surface to make a more slippery and less sticky surface that is integral with the bulk elastomer would be more desirable.
Document ID
Document Type
Other - NASA Tech Brief
Banks, Bruce A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Miller, Sharon K.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 2010
Publication Information
Publication: NASA Tech Briefs, November 2010
Subject Category
Composite Materials
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

NameType 20100039417.pdf STI

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IDRelationTitle20100039392Analytic PrimaryNASA Tech Briefs, November 2010