Formation of Microparticles from Silicone Contaminants under Simulated Space Environment

DOI:10.15011//jasma.34.340207
Int. J. Microgravity Sci. Appl. 2017p340207
Author
R. YAMANAKA, A.V. GUBAREVICH, E. MIYAZAKI, T. YAMAGUCHI and O. ODAWARA
Organization
Research and Development Directorate/ Human Spaceflight Technology Directorate, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Abstract
The mitigation of space debris is an important issue in current and future space exploration. It is much important to make clear the formation process of space debris as well as their origin for the mitigation, although it is not easy to make clear those of small sized space debris. In the present work, a formation mechanism of microparticle space debris has been proposed through experimental approaches with silicone contaminants outgassed from silicone adhesive deposited on polyimide film and irradiated by ultraviolet (UV) and atomic oxygen (AO). Observation by scanning electron microscopy showed that the silicone contaminants formed droplets with size around 20 µm on the surface of polyimide film. The droplets then solidified under the combined action of UV and AO irradiation, while polyimide film was eroded in the areas not covered by the droplets. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy showed that microparticles that formed under UV and AO irradiation mainly consisted of silicon and oxygen. The present findings could help to clarify the origin of microparticle space debris found in space.
Keyword(s)
Microparticle, Space debris, Silicone contaminants, Atomic oxygen.
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Received 28 December 2016, Accepted 27 March 2017, Published 30 April 2017

© The Japan Society of Microgravity Applicaiton

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