Multi-function Tuneable Emittance Smart Coatings for Thermal Control in Harsh Space Environment 2006-01-2263
MPB has developed advanced smart radiator devices (SRDs) for passive, dynamic thermal control of space structures and payloads. The SRDs employ a nano-engineered, integrated thin-film structure based on V1-x-yMxNyOn. Dopants, M and N, tailor the transition temperature characteristics of the tuneable IR emittance. This paper describes the progress in MPB's smart thermal radiator towards its validation as an efficient thermal control device for space environment.
A set of environmental tests were performed in order to validate the coating resistance and performance stability in space. The tests included random vibration, thermal shock, and accelerated aging. In addition, the thermo-optic characteristics after exposure to Atomic Oxygen (AO) in a simulated LEO environment were similar to the “as deposited” characteristics. Preliminary radiation tests, comparable to 3 years in a GEO environment, indicate very low change in emissivity and solar absorptance relative to the initial values. The experimental environmental test results indicate no significant change in the emittance tuneability,morphology or mass of the SRD coating.
MPB's passive thin-film SRD can be applied to Al thermal radiators as a direct replacement for the existing OSR (optical second-reflector) radiator tiles with a net added mass under 100 gm/m2 but with the added benefits of dynamic variation in the thermal radiation to space to significantly improve the thermal stability of the spacecraft for varying operating conditions at a significant mass and power savings relative to traditional techniques.