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Proceedings Paper

Polymer material and casting process development for reduced manufacturing cost of spaceborne optics
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Paper Abstract

There is a significant amount of research devoted to developing materials and processes for spaceborne mirrors. Carbon fiber mirrors and advanced ceramic mirrors such as SiC are being developed. These materials provide excellent stiffness to weight ratios and thermal stability. The principal problem with using these lightweight materials for mirrors is the difficulty of polishing the surface to achieve the required optical quality finish. Carbon fiber mirrors also suffer from fiber print through and ceramic mirrors are difficult and costly to polish due to the material hardness and porosity. SRS has been developing processes for depositing a very thin, optical-quality membrane layer of space-qualified polymer onto the surface of a mirror still in a rough-polished state to eliminate the need for expensive and time consuming final surface finishing of lightweight mirrors. By flow casting a polymer onto the surface, remaining peaks and valleys are filled in resulting in an extremely smooth surface. Initial research has shown that the membrane mirror surface can have a significantly better surface finish than the casting substrate, thus eliminating the need for costly final polishing.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 December 2003
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 5179, Optical Materials and Structures Technologies, (12 December 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.503852
Show Author Affiliations
Brian G. Patrick, SRS Technologies (United States)
James D Moore, SRS Technologies (United States)
Dan K Marker, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
James R Rotge, Boeing Co. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5179:
Optical Materials and Structures Technologies
William A. Goodman, Editor(s)

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