Testing of Materials for Passive Thermal Control of Space Suits 881125
The new generation of high-pressure hard space suits allows designers to employ passive means of thermal control of the suit, with a reflective coating. An effort is underway to determine the coating material of choice for the AX-5 prototype hard space suit. Samples of 6061 aluminum have been coated with one of 10 selected metal coatings, and subjected to corrosion, abrasion and thermal testing. Changes in reflectance after exposure are documented. Plated gold exhibited minimal degradation of optical properties.
A computer model is used in evaluating coating thermal performance in the EVA environment. The model is verified with an experiment designed to measure the heat transfer characteristics of coated space suit parts in a thermal vacuum chamber. Details of this experiment are presented here.