Mission STS-134: Results of Shape Memory Foam Experiment
Santo, Loredana ; Quadrini, Fabrizio ; Mascetti, Gabriele ; et al.
Oct - 2013
DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2013.06.017
ISSN : 00945765 ;
journal : Acta Astronautica
type: Article Journal

Shape memory epoxy foams were used for an experiment aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to evaluate the feasibility of their use for building light actuators and expandable/deployable structures. The experiment named I-FOAM was performed by an autonomous device contained in the BIOKON container (by Kayser Italia) which was in turn composed of control and heating system, battery pack and data acquisition system. To simulate the actuation of simple devices in micro-gravity conditions, three different configurations (compression, bending and torsion) were chosen during the memory step of the foams so as to produce their recovery on ISS. Micro-gravity does not affect the ability of the foams to recover their shape but it poses limits for the heating system design because of the difference in heat transfer on Earth and in orbit. A recovery about 70\% was measured at a temperature of 110 °C for the bending and torsion configuration whereas poor recovery was observed for the compression case. Thanks to these results, a new experiment has been developed for a future mission by the same device: for the first time a shape memory composite will be recovered, and the actuation load during time will be measured during the recovery of an epoxy foam sample.

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