Dependence of Electrostatic Field Strength on Voltage Ramp Rate for Spacecraft Materials

Krysta Moser, Utah State University
Allen Andersen, Utah State University
JR Dennison, Utah State Univesity


This work investigated the dependence of electrostatic field strength for spacecraft materials on voltage ramp rate, by applying an increasing electrostatic field until electrostatic breakdown occurred.

Tests on the polymeric material Kapton ETM found that at ramp rates two or three orders of magnitude lower than the maximum recommended rate, FESD was lower than at rapid rates by a factor or two or more this suggests that tabulated values of FESD which have been used by the spacecraft charging community can substantially overestimate FESD in common slowly evolving spacecraft situations. Similar measurements on other polymeric materials have been performed to test three ramp rate model of increasing sophistication.