17th International Conference on Ion Beam Modification of Materials

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Modification of Space Polymers by Ion Implantation and Oxidative Conversion – Results from Exposure in Space Simulator and After Real Space Flights

Zelina Iskanderova, J. Kleiman*, and R.N.S. Sodhi

poster presentation: 2010-08-26 02:20 PM – 02:40 PM
Last modified: 2010-08-23


High-performance polymers are used for many space and terrestrial applications, but are known to suffer significant surface erosion in space, in low Earth orbits (LEO), due to interaction with highly aggressive Fast Atomic Oxygen (FAO) and UV. These materials need to be protected when used in LEO. Among a variety of protection options, a technology of moderate energy, specially selected semi-metals ions implantation, up to pre-determined ion beam fluences, has been shown to be successful. Space durability enhancement by this ion beam implantation and follow-up oxidative conversion to stable protective surface compounds, formed in a graded manner, has been confirmed in both ground-based LEO simulation experiments, and during a long-term expose in LEO space flight experiment, called Materials on International Space Station Experiment (MISSE). The implanted polymers have been analyzed pre-and post-exposure using both SIMS depth profiling and high-resolution XPS. Changes in elemental composition and chemical structure of the top surface layer were studied by XPS, while SIMS depth profiling allowed the study of the sub-surface layer. The goal of these sophisticated surface analysis studies allowed to understand the details of the “conversion” processes in the top surface layers of the treated polymers under oxidative exposure. Formation of fully stabilized atomic oxygen resistant oxides-like graded surface structures has been confirmed, that made clear the protection and space durability enhancement mechanism of implanted polymers.

Author(s) affiliation:
Zelina Iskanderova, Integrity Testing Lab, Inc., Markham, Ontario, Canada
J. Kleiman*, Integrity Testing Lab, Inc., Markham, Ontario, Canada
R.N.S. Sodhi, Surface Interface Ontario, Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry, University of Toronto, Canada

*presenting author
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