The proposed work will develop lightweight multifunctional composites based on novel continuous fiber reinforced fluorinated polybenzoxazine (FPBZ) resin with an ultra-high nanofiller concentration nanocomposite coating. The composites are designed to provide exceptional atomic oxygen erosion resistance as well as thermal stability and structural performance. Atomic oxygen erosion resistance will be provided primarily through the application of a nacre-memetic coating comprised of layered silicate. This approach provides a path towards addressing the need for a lightweight alternative to aluminum in low earth orbit (LEO) applications such as satellites and orbiting spacecraft. FPBZ’s can be processed using liquid resin molding techniques such as lay-up, compression molding, and autoclaving. Thus, polymers and composites developed during this project are expected to provide a unique combination of properties and processing characteristics to meet the needs of NASA and the rapidly expanding commercial space market. Ground-based testing and modeling tasks will be utilized during Phase I to provide a preliminary assessment of atomic oxygen resistance; ultimately leading to testing aboard the International Space Station (ISS) during Phase II using the MISSE-FF (Materials International Space Station Experiment – Flight Facility).
The proposed work addresses the need for a lightweight alternative to aluminum in low earth orbit (LEO) applications such as satellites and orbiting spacecraft. A key market driver is the need for lighter weight materials that can replace metal components to reduce launch costs. Applications include components requiring a lightweight atomic oxygen-resistant material to replace aluminum while increasing volume efficiency and/or reducing mass, for example, structural components and non-structural components exposed to the LEO environment.
Opportunities for new structural materials in spacecraft, such as CubeSats, are steadily increasing and are driven by the demand for materials with improved volumetric efficiency and lower mass compared to conventional materials such as aluminum. Targeted applications include primary structural components (e.g. frames and chassis) and secondary structural components (e.g. panels and covers).