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Proceedings Paper

Optical analysis of transparent polymeric material exposed to simulated space environment
Author(s): David L. Edwards; Miria M. Finckenor; Mark J. O'Neill; A. J. McDanal
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Paper Abstract

Transparent polymeric materials are being designed and utilized as solar concentrating lenses for spacecraft power and propulsion systems. These polymeric lenses concentrate solar energy onto energy conversion devices such as solar cells and thermal energy systems. The conversion efficiency is directly related to the transmissivity of the polymeric lens. The Environmental Effects Group of the Marshall Space Flight Center's Materials, Processes, and Manufacturing Department exposed a variety of material to a simulated space environment and evaluated them for change in optical transmission. These materials include LexanTM, polyethylene terephalate, several formulate of TefzelTM and TeflonTM, and silicone DC 93 - 500. Samples were exposed to a minimum of 1000 equivalent sun hours of near ultraviolet radiation (250 - 400 nm wavelength). Prolonged exposure to the space environment will decrease the polymer film's transmission and thus reduce the conversion efficiency. A method was developed to normalize the transmission loss and thus rank the materials according to their tolerance to space environmental exposure. Spectral results and the material ranking according to transmission loss are presented. Power loss over time for a typical solar cell was calculated based on degraded transmission of the polymer material.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 October 2000
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 4134, Photonics for Space Environments VII, (26 October 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.405364
Show Author Affiliations
David L. Edwards, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Miria M. Finckenor, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Mark J. O'Neill, ENTECH, Inc. (United States)
A. J. McDanal, ENTECH, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4134:
Photonics for Space Environments VII
Edward W. Taylor, Editor(s)

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