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Resistance of CFRP structures to environmental degradation in low earth orbit.

Suliga, Agnieszka (2017) Resistance of CFRP structures to environmental degradation in low earth orbit. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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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.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Suliga, AgnieszkaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 21 December 2017
Funders : EPSRC, RolaTube Technology Ltd.
Contributors :
ContributionNameEmailORCID
http://www.loc.gov/loc.terms/relators/THSViquerat, Andrewa.viquerat@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Depositing User : Agnieszka Suliga
Date Deposited : 08 Jan 2018 09:01
Last Modified : 08 Jan 2018 09:01
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/845096

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