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Proceedings Paper

Contamination protective coatings: an overview
Author(s): Ronald Pirich
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Paper Abstract

Tailored protective coatings have the potential for tremendous technical and affordability benefits to ground, air and space systems because of their ability to reduce surface contamination, minimize icing, reduce friction, and to reduce corrosion for a wide variety of applications and missions. The thermal and radiation environment of space systems also pose unique challenges to protective coatings because of the space environment’s large temperature variations, the plasma environment and solar UV and Xrays. Contamination may accumulate on sensors inhibiting accurate and timely data acquisition and their efficiency can be seriously affected by contamination buildup. For polymeric materials, not all properties are affected to the same degree by radiation but are often localized at a specific molecular bond. Both hydrophilic and hydrophobic coating approaches may be important to address specific design requirements. Hydrophilic materials are composed of polar molecules and have been used to defog glass and enable oil spots to be swept away with water. Hydrophobic molecules tend to be nonpolar and thus prefer other neutral molecules and nonpolar solvents. Hydrophobic molecules often cluster and are difficult to wet with liquids. This paper presents an overview of various types of contamination that adheres to critical air and space surfaces and potential coatings phenomenology that may be used to eliminate contamination.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 September 2013
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 8876, Nanophotonics and Macrophotonics for Space Environments VII, 88760Q (24 September 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2024306
Show Author Affiliations
Ronald Pirich, Independent Consultant and Sr. Research Advisor (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8876:
Nanophotonics and Macrophotonics for Space Environments VII
Edward W. Taylor; David A. Cardimona, Editor(s)

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