Behavior of Shape Memory Epoxy Foams in Microgravity: Experimental Results of STS-134 Mission
Santo, Loredana ; Quadrini, Fabrizio ; Squeo, Erica Anna ; ...Mascetti, Gabriele ; ...Bertolotto, Delfina ; et al.
Jun - 2012
ISSN : 0938-0108 ;
journal : Microgravity Science and Technology

Issue : 4
type: Article Journal

Shape memory epoxy foams were used for an experiment on the International Space Station to evaluate the feasibility of their use for building multi-functional composite structures. A small equip- ment was designed and built to simulate the actuation of simple devices in micro-gravity conditions: three different configurations (compression, bending and tor- sion) were chosen during the memory step of the foams so as to produce their recovery on ISS. Two systems were used for the experimentation to avoid damages of the flight model during laboratory tests; however a single ground experiment was performed also on the flight model before the mission. Micro-gravity does not affect the ability of the foams to recover their shape but it poses strong limits for the heating system design because of the difference in heat transfer on earth and in orbit. A full recovery of the foam samples was not achieved due to some limitations in the maximum al- lowable temperature on ISS for safety reasons: anyway a 70\% recovery was also measured at a temperature of 110 ◦ C. Ground laboratory experiments showed that 100\% recovery could be reached by increasing the max- imum temperature to 120 ◦ C. Experiment results have provided many useful information for the designing of a new structural composite actuator by using shape memory foams.

keywords : Epoxy foams,International Space Station,Shape memory polymers,Shape recovery,Smart materials,·