Chinese researchers develop protective material for spacecraft surface
Chinese researchers have developed a new type of double-layer polyimide nanocomposite film, which can be applied on the external surfaces of spacecraft.
Polyimide composite films are currently widely used to protect spacecraft from adverse conditions of low Earth orbit, owing to their remarkable performance in mechanical properties, thermal stability, and chemical resistance. However, the material is very vulnerable to atomic oxygen in the space environment, resulting in a sharp decline in physical and mechanical properties.
The researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China generated a new polyimide-based nanocomposite film with greatly enhanced mechanical properties and atomic oxygen resistance by integrating mica nanosheets with polyimide into a unique double-layer nacre-inspired structure with a much higher density, according to their recent research article published in the journal Advanced Materials.
The nanocomposite film can resist atomic oxygen, ultraviolet, and space debris, the research article noted. The performance of this material is superior to that of pure polyimide, single-layer polyimide-mica, and other previously reported polyimide-based composite films.