FCAPD Protective Coating for Space Tethers
Small Business Information
626 Whitney Street, San Leandro, CA, 94577
AbstractAlameda Applied Sciences Corporation (AASC) proposes to demonstrate extended service lifetime of space tethers in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) environment by using Filtered Cathodic Arc Plasma Deposition (FCAPD) to deposit a high quality protective coating onto space tether material. Protective coatings deposited by FCAPD have low defect density, excellent adhesion to space tether material, low mass and thickness and have been shown in initial laboratory tests to protect against atomic oxygen (AO) erosion on Kapton as well as Zylon. Because of the low process temperature (<80 oC), FCAPD can minimize the thermal effects the process has on the tether material, which is believed to be a major disadvantage of current types of protective coatings such as Photosil , TOR-LM and POSS. These polymer coatings offer a level of protection against AO and UV damage, but at a significant cost to the tether's tensile strength .
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