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Degradation of metallic surfaces under space conditions, with particular emphasis on Hydrogen recombination processes

Sznajder, Maciej and Geppert, Ulrich and Dudek, Mirosław (2015) Degradation of metallic surfaces under space conditions, with particular emphasis on Hydrogen recombination processes. Advances in Space Research, 56 (1), pp. 71-84. Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.asr.2015.03.032. ISSN 0273-1177.

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Official URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273117715002343


The widespread use of metallic structures in space technology brings risk of degradation which occurs under space conditions. New types of materials dedicated for space applications, that have been developed in the last decade, are in majority not well tested for different space mission scenarios. Very little is known how material degradation may affect the stability and functionality of space vehicles and devices during long term space missions. Our aim is to predict how the solar wind and electromagnetic radiation degrade metallic structures. Therefore both experimental and theoretical studies of material degradation under space conditions have been performed. The studies are accomplished at German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Bremen (Germany) and University of Zielona Góra (Poland). The paper presents the results of the theoretical part of those studies. It is proposed that metal bubbles filled with Hydrogen molecular gas, resulting from recombination of the metal free electrons and the solar protons, are formed on the irradiated surfaces. A thermodynamic model of bubble formation has been developed. We study the creation process of H2H2-bubbles as function of, inter alia, the metal temperature, proton dose and energy. Our model has been verified by irradiation experiments completed at the DLR facility in Bremen. Consequences of the bubble formation are changes of the physical and thermo-optical properties of such degraded metals. We show that a high surface density of bubbles (up to 108cm-2) with a typical bubble diameter of ∼∼0.4 μm will cause a significant increase of the metallic surface roughness. This may have serious consequences to any space mission. Changes in the thermo-optical properties of metallic foils are especially important for the solar sail propulsion technology because its efficiency depends on the effective momentum transfer from the solar photons onto the sail structure. This transfer is proportional to the reflectivity of a sail. Therefore, the propulsion abilities of sail material will be affected by the growing population of the molecular Hydrogen bubbles on metallic foil surfaces.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/96577/
Document Type:Article
Title:Degradation of metallic surfaces under space conditions, with particular emphasis on Hydrogen recombination processes
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Date:1 July 2015
Journal or Publication Title:Advances in Space Research
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 71-84
Keywords:Space environmental effects; Recombination; Hydrogen embrittlement; Blistering
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space System Technology
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R SY - Space System Technology
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Entfaltungstechnologie . Solar Sail (old)
Location: Bremen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Space Systems > Mechanic and Thermal Systems
Deposited By: Sznajder, Dr.-Ing. Maciej
Deposited On:18 Jun 2015 10:35
Last Modified:09 Dec 2021 12:19

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