Low-earth-orbit exposure of carbon-based materials aboard shuttle flight STS-46

Blaine R. Spady, R. A. Synowicki, Jeffrey S. Hale, M. J. DeVries, John A. Woollam, Arthur W. Moore, Max Lake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Six different types of carbon and carbon-boron nitride composites were exposed to low Earth orbit (LEO) aboard Space Shuttle flight STS-46. The samples received a nominal atomic-oxygen fluence of 2.2 × 1020 atoms/cm2 in 42 h of exposure. Pyrolytic graphite and highly oriented pyrolytic graphite showed significant degradation, and the measured erosion yield was within a factor of 2 of published values. The erosion yield of pyrolytic boron nitride was found to be 2.6 × 10-26 cm3/atom in plasma asher exposure, over 42 times lower than that of pyrolytic graphite. This low erosion yield makes graphite-boron nitride mixtures quite resistant to LEO exposure. Evidence suggests that the graphitic component was preferentially etched, leaving the surface boron nitride rich. Atomic-oxygen resistance increases with boron nitride composition. Carbon-fiber-carbon composites eroded in LEO, and the carbon pitch binder was found to etch more easily than the graphite fibers, which have much higher atomic-oxygen resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1015-1017
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995

Fingerprint

space transportation system
Boron nitride
low Earth orbits
boron nitrides
boron
graphite
Orbits
Earth (planet)
flight
pyrolytic graphite
Graphite
Carbon
carbon
erosion
Erosion
oxygen
Oxygen
Graphite fibers
Atoms
space shuttles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Spady, B. R., Synowicki, R. A., Hale, J. S., DeVries, M. J., Woollam, J. A., Moore, A. W., & Lake, M. (1995). Low-earth-orbit exposure of carbon-based materials aboard shuttle flight STS-46. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 32(6), 1015-1017. https://doi.org/10.2514/3.26723

Low-earth-orbit exposure of carbon-based materials aboard shuttle flight STS-46. / Spady, Blaine R.; Synowicki, R. A.; Hale, Jeffrey S.; DeVries, M. J.; Woollam, John A.; Moore, Arthur W.; Lake, Max.

In: Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 32, No. 6, 01.01.1995, p. 1015-1017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Spady, BR, Synowicki, RA, Hale, JS, DeVries, MJ, Woollam, JA, Moore, AW & Lake, M 1995, 'Low-earth-orbit exposure of carbon-based materials aboard shuttle flight STS-46', Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, vol. 32, no. 6, pp. 1015-1017. https://doi.org/10.2514/3.26723
Spady, Blaine R. ; Synowicki, R. A. ; Hale, Jeffrey S. ; DeVries, M. J. ; Woollam, John A. ; Moore, Arthur W. ; Lake, Max. / Low-earth-orbit exposure of carbon-based materials aboard shuttle flight STS-46. In: Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. 1995 ; Vol. 32, No. 6. pp. 1015-1017.
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