Dependence of Incidence Angle and Flux Density in the Damage Effect of Atomic Oxygen on Kapton Film
W Zhao and Q Wei and CJ Huang and YS Zhu and N Hu, POLYMERS, 14, 5444 (2022).
Kapton film is a polymeric material widely used on low-Earth-orbit (LEO) spacecraft surfaces. In the LEO environment, atomic oxygen (AO) is spaceflight materials' most destructive environmental factor. The erosion mechanism of AO on Kapton films has long been an important issue, where the parameter dependence of the AO effect has received increasing attention. Studies of AO energy and cumulative flux have been extensively carried out, while the influence mechanism of the incidence angle and flux density is not fully understood. The AO incidence angle and flux density in space are diverse, which may cause different damage effects on aerospace materials. In this paper, the dependence of the incidence angle and flux density in the damaging effect of AO on Kapton films was investigated using ground-based AO test technology and the reactive molecular dynamics (ReaxFF MD) simulation technique. Firstly, the ground-based experiment obtained the mass loss data of Kapton films under the action of AO with a variable incidence angle and flux density. Then, the mass loss, temperature rise, product, and erosion yield of Kapton during AO impact with different incidence angles and dose rates were calculated using the ReaxFF MD method. The influences of the incidence angle and flux density on the damage mechanism of the AO effect were discussed by comparing the simulation and test results. The results show that the AO effect in the lower incidence angle range (0-60 degrees) is independent of the incidence angle and depends only on the amount of impacted atomic oxygen. AO in the higher incidence angle range (60-90 degrees) has a surface stripping effect, which causes more significant mass loss and a temperature rise while stripping raised macromolecules from rough surfaces, and the erosion effect increases with the increasing incidence angle and amount of impacted atomic oxygen. There is a critical value for the influence of flux density on the AO effect. Above this critical value, AO has a reduced erosive capacity due to a lower chance of participating in the reaction. The amount of each main product from the AO effect varies with the incidence angle and flux density. Nonetheless, the total content of the main products is essentially constant, around 70%. This work will contribute to our understanding of the incidence angle and flux density dependence of the AO effect and provide valuable information for the development of standards for ground simulation tests.
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