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Atomic Oxygen Adaptability of Flexible Kapton/Al2O3 Composite Thin Films Prepared by Ion Exchange Method

by Donghua Jiang 1, Dan Wang 1,2, Gang Liu 3 and Qiang Wei 1,4,*
1
Tianjin Key Laboratory of Composite and Functional Materials, School of Materials Science and Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300350, China
2
Jizhong Energy Resources Co., LTD, Xingtai 054000, China
3
Department of environment, Shanghai Institute of Satellite Equipment, Shanghai 200240, China
4
School of Mechanical Engineering, Hebei University of Technology, Tianjin 300130, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Coatings 2019, 9(10), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings9100624
Received: 11 September 2019 / Revised: 23 September 2019 / Accepted: 26 September 2019 / Published: 28 September 2019
Polyimide film (Kapton) is an important polymer material used for the construction of spacecrafts. The performance of Kapton can be degraded for atomic oxygen erosion in space. Commonly used atomic oxygen protective layers have issues such as poor toughness and poor adhesion with the film. In this paper, Kapton/Al2O3 nanocomposite films were prepared via an ion exchange method, and the optical properties, mechanical properties, and mechanisms for the change in the mass and microstructure, before and after atomic oxygen exposure, were analyzed. The results show that the deposition of the Kapton/Al2O3 surface nanocomposite film prepared via the ion exchange method has no obvious effects on the internal structure and optical transmittance of the Kapton film matrix. The tensile strength and elongation of the prepared film were much higher than those of the pure Kapton film, demonstrating its good flexibility. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis showed that the etching pits had a carpet-like morphology on the composite film surface and were relatively small after atomic oxygen erosion. In contrast with the C–C bond rupture in the oxydianiline (ODA) benzene in Kapton films, the Kapton/Al2O3 nanocomposite film mainly destroyed the C=C bond in the pyromellitic dianhydride (PMDA) benzene ring. On exposure to an atomic oxygen environment for a short period, the Kapton/Al2O3 nanocomposite film exhibited improved atomic oxygen erosion resistance because the Al2O3 layer inhibited atomic oxygen diffusion. With increasing atomic oxygen exposure time, the atomic oxygen diffused into the Kapton matrix via the pores of the Al2O3 layer, causing damage to the substrate. This resulted in a detachment of the surface Al2O3 layer and exposure of the Kapton matrix, and thereby the atomic oxygen resistance was decreased. The applicability of the ion exchange mechanism of trivalent Al element on the surface modification of the polyimide is explored in this study. The behavior of the Kapton/Al2O3 composite film under the atomic oxygen environment of space is investigated, which provides the basis for studying the effects of atomic oxygen on the flexible protective Kapton film. View Full-Text
Keywords: atomic oxygen adaptability; Kapton; flexible; ion exchange method atomic oxygen adaptability; Kapton; flexible; ion exchange method
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Jiang, D.; Wang, D.; Liu, G.; Wei, Q. Atomic Oxygen Adaptability of Flexible Kapton/Al2O3 Composite Thin Films Prepared by Ion Exchange Method. Coatings 2019, 9, 624.

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