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Proceedings Paper

Silicon nitride for structural parts of space applications
Author(s): Stéphanie Behar-Lafenêtre; Nisrine Louh; Philippe Grasset; Laurence Cornillon; Miguel Such-Taboada
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Paper Abstract

Silicon nitride is a ceramic material that has very interesting properties for space applications, especially for optical instruments and telescopes. Indeed, the objective for such structures is chiefly stability to ensure performance, associated with low mass and high stiffness to sustain launch loads. With its high strength and stiffness and low CTE, Silicon Nitride is therefore extremely well suited for stable Space structures. Thales Alenia Space has been using Silicon Nitride for more than a decade, and in that framework has evaluated the ability of the material to address those needs and requirements for complex designs such as tubes, brackets, brazed supports, beams and light-weighted plates. All these structures have been tested, qualified and are now flight proven. In order to improve knowledge and mastering of strength properties, a characterization campaign of the material is under way in a GSTP funded by CNES and driven by ESA. This paper describes the design of this test campaign, the choices for the sample types and dimensions, and prediction of the expected results. In addition to the mechanical strength testing, X-ray tomography has been implemented in order to detect flaws beforehand and to investigate the ability to predict failure from the extracted information. This will be especially useful since verification (in particular proof tests that are commonly used on ceramics for Space applications) is based on the relationship between strength and flaws. It is expected that by improving this knowledge a more straightforward verification process can be derived.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 August 2019
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 11101, Material Technologies and Applications to Optics, Structures, Components, and Sub-Systems IV, 1110103 (30 August 2019);
Show Author Affiliations
Stéphanie Behar-Lafenêtre, Thales Alenia Space (France)
Nisrine Louh, Thales Alenia Space (France)
Philippe Grasset, Thales Alenia Space (France)
Laurence Cornillon, Thales Alenia Space (France)
Miguel Such-Taboada, European Space Agency (Netherlands)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11101:
Material Technologies and Applications to Optics, Structures, Components, and Sub-Systems IV
Matthias Kroedel; Bill A. Goodman, Editor(s)

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