In order to use polymers at low Earth orbit (LEO) environment, they must be protected against atomic oxygen (AO) erosion. A promising protection strategy is to incorporate polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) molecules into the polymer backbone. In this study, the space durability of epoxy-POSS (EPOSS) nanocomposites was investigated. Two types of POSS molecules were incorporated separately—amine-based and epoxy-based. The outgassing properties of the EPOSS, in terms of total mass loss, collected volatile condensable material, and water vapor regain were measured as a function of POSS type and content. The AO durability was studied using a ground-based AO simulation system. Surface compositions of EPOSS were studied using highresolution scanning electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. It was found that with respect to the outgassing properties, only some of the EPOSS compositions were suitable for the ultrahigh vacuum space environment, and that the POSS type and content had a strong effect on their outgassing properties. Regardless of the POSS type being used, the AO durability improved significantly. This improvement is attributed to the formation of a self-passivated AO durable SiO2 layer, and demonstrates the potential use of EPOSS as a qualified nanocomposite for space applications.
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2022|
- Atomic oxygen (AO)
- Low Earth orbit (LEO)
- Polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS)