Atomic oxygen degradation mechanisms of epoxy composites for space applications

Yanjun He, Agnieszka Suliga, Alex Brinkmeyer, Mark Schenk, Ian Hamerton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
213 Downloads (Pure)


The effects of atomic oxygen on three commercial composite materials, based on two space-qualified epoxy resins (tetraglycidyl-4,4′-diaminodiphenylmethane (TGDDM) cured with a blend of 4,4′-methylenebis(2,6-diethylaniline) and 4,4′-methylenebis(2-isopropyl-6-methylaniline); and a blend of TGDDM, bisphenol A diglycidyl ether (DGEBA), and epoxidised novolak resin initiated by N’-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-N,N-dimethylurea) are studied. Samples were exposed to a total fluence of (3.82 × 1020atom/cm2), equating to a period of 43 days in low Earth orbit. The flexural rigidity and modulus of all laminates displayed a reduction of 5–10% after the first exposure (equivalent to 20 days in orbit). Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectra, obtained during prolonged exposure to atomic oxygen, were interpreted using multivariate analysis to explore the degradation mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-120
Number of pages13
JournalPolymer Degradation and Stability
Early online date23 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

Structured keywords

  • Bristol Composites Institute ACCIS


  • Atomic oxygen
  • Epoxy resins
  • Principal components analysis
  • Thermoset polymers
  • Ultra-thin space composites

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