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In Situ Measurement of Carbon Fibre/Polyether Ether Ketone Thermal Expansion in Low Earth Orbit

Department of Applied Science for Integrated Systems Engineering, Kyushu Institute of Technology, 1-1 Sensui, Tobata, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka 804-8550, Japan
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Aerospace 2020, 7(4), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7040035
Received: 5 March 2020 / Revised: 22 March 2020 / Accepted: 24 March 2020 / Published: 26 March 2020
The low Earth orbit (LEO) environment exposes spacecraft to factors that can degrade the dimensional stability of the structure. Carbon Fibre/Polyether Ether Ketone (CF/PEEK) can limit such degradations. However, there are limited in-orbit data on the performance of CF/PEEK. Usage of small satellite as material science research platform can address such limitations. This paper discusses the design of a material science experiment termed material mission (MM) onboard Ten-Koh satellite, which allows in situ measurements of coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) for CF/PEEK samples in LEO. Results from ground tests before launch demonstrated the feasibility of the MM design. Analysis of in-orbit data indicated that the CTE values exhibit a non-linear temperature dependence, and there was no shift in CTE values after four months. The acquired in-orbit data was consistent with previous ground tests and in-orbit data. The MM experiment provides data to verify the ground test of CF/PEEK performance in LEO. MM also proved the potential of small satellite as a platform for conducting meaningful material science experiments. View Full-Text
Keywords: atomic oxygen; coefficient of thermal expansion; carbon fibre; polyether ether ketone (PEEK); low Earth orbit; ultraviolet; in situ; small satellite; thermal cycle; in-orbit atomic oxygen; coefficient of thermal expansion; carbon fibre; polyether ether ketone (PEEK); low Earth orbit; ultraviolet; in situ; small satellite; thermal cycle; in-orbit
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Abdullah, F.; Okuyama, K.-I.; Fajardo, I.; Urakami, N. In Situ Measurement of Carbon Fibre/Polyether Ether Ketone Thermal Expansion in Low Earth Orbit. Aerospace 2020, 7, 35.

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