NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Erosion Results of the MISSE 8 Polymers Experiment After 2 Years of Space Exposure on the International Space StationPolymers and other oxidizable materials on the exterior of spacecraft in the low Earth orbit (LEO) space environment can be eroded due to reaction with atomic oxygen (AO). Therefore, in order to design durable spacecraft, it is important to know the LEO AO erosion yield (E(sub y), volume loss per incident oxygen atom) of materials susceptible to AO reaction. A spaceflight experiment, called the Polymers Experiment, which contained 42 samples, was developed to determine the effect of solar exposure on the AO E(sub y) of fluoropolymers flown in ram, wake, or zenith orientations. The Polymers Experiment was exposed to the LEO space environment on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Materials International Space Station Experiment 8 (MISSE 8) mission. The MISSE 8 mission included samples flown in a zenith/nadir orientation for 2.14 years in the MISSE 8 Passive Experiment Container (PEC), and samples flown in a ram/wake orientation for 2.0 years in the Optical Reflector Materials Experiment-III (ORMatEIII) tray. The experiment included Kapton H (Registered Trademark) witness samples for AO fluence determination in each orientation. This paper provides an overview of the MISSE 8 mission, a description of the flight experiment with details on the polymers flown, the characterization techniques used, the AO fluence for each exposure orientation, and the LEO E(sub y) results. The E(sub y) of Teflon fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) samples flown in ram, wake, and zenith orientations have been compared, and the E(sub y) was found to be highly dependent on orientation and therefore environmental exposure. The FEP E(sub y) was found to directly correlate with the solar exposure/AO fluence ratio showing the effect of solar radiation and/or heating due to solar exposure on FEP erosion. In addition, back-surface carbon painted FEP (C-FEP) flown in the zenith orientation had a significantly higher E(sub y) than clear FEP or Al-FEP further indicating that heating has a significant impact on the erosion of FEP. This experiment provides valuable LEO flight data on the erosion of Teflon FEP, a commonly used spacecraft thermal insulation.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
de Groh, Kim K.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Banks, Bruce A.
(Science Applications International Corp. Cleveland, OH, United States)
Asmar, Olivia C.
(Hathaway Brown School Shaker Heights, OH, United States)
Yi, Grace T.
(Hathaway Brown School Shaker Heights, OH, United States)
Mitchell, Gianna G.
(Hathaway Brown School Shaker Heights, OH, United States)
Guo, Aobo
(Hathaway Brown School Shaker Heights, OH, United States)
Sechkar, Edward A.
(ZIN Technologies, Inc. Middleburg Heights, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
February 28, 2017
Publication Date
February 1, 2017
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Space Radiation
Chemistry And Materials (General)
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 769347.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Oxygen atoms
Earth Orbital Environments
Solar radiation

Available Downloads

NameType 20170001792.pdf STI