J.R. Dennison

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Materials potentially suitable for spacecraft construction were exposed to electrostatic discharge in the USU Materials Physics Group lab, with hopes of identifying samples that possess greater resistance to breakdown. Breakdown shape and size may be important to determining material suitability for spacecraft construction. The discharge damage sites of tested samples were examined, measured and logged into a matrix file for data analysis. Once logged, data were sorted within the matrix and compared graphically to identify trends. Several interesting discoveries were made. LDPE sample breakdown sites are significantly larger than Kapton varieties. We were unable to link increased energy inputs to larger areal sample damage. Breakdown in all sample types were elliptical in nature rather than near circular. Cryogenic test samples are more eccentric than room temperature tests, in both materials. Potential relationship values were briefly examined as a result of these findings in an attempt to explain processes of breakdown.

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