Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.731194
Title: Resistance of CFRP structures to environmental degradation in low earth orbit
Author: Suliga, Agnieszka
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 8765
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2017
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Abstract:
Within this study, a development of a protection strategy for ultra-thin CFRP structures from degrading effects of low Earth orbit (LEO) is presented. The proposed strategy involves an application of a modified epoxy resin system on outer layers of the structure, which is cycloaliphatic in its chemical character and reinforced with POSS nanoparticles. The core of the CFRP structure is manufactured using a highly aromatic epoxy resin system which provides excellent mechanical properties, however, its long-term ageing performance in space is not satisfactory, and hence a surface treatment is required to improve its longevity. The developed resin system presented in this thesis is a hybrid material, designed in such a way that its individual constituents each contribute to combating the detrimental effects of radiation, atomic oxygen (AO), temperature extremes and vacuum induced outgassing of exposed material surfaces while operating in LEO. The cycloaliphatic nature of the outer epoxy increases UV resistance and the embedded silicon nanoparticles improve AO and thermal stability. During the study, a material characterization of the developed cycloaliphatic epoxy resins was performed including the effects of nanoparticles on morphology, curing behaviour, thermal-mechanical properties and surface chemistry. Following on that, the efficacy of the modified resin system on space-like resistance was studied. It was found that when the ultra-thin CFRP structures are covered with the developed resin system, their AO resistance is approximately doubled, UV susceptibility decreased by 80\% and thermal stability improved by 20\%. Following on the successful launch of the InflateSail mission earlier this year, which demonstrated a sail deployment and a controlled de-orbiting, the findings of this study are of importance for the future generation of similar, but significantly longer missions. Ensuring resistance of CFRP structures in a highly corrosive LEO environment is a critical requirement to make their use in space applications truly feasible.
Supervisor: Viquerat, Andrew Sponsor: EPSRC ; RolaTube Technology Ltd
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.731194  DOI: Not available
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