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The preparation of ultra-thin CFRP laminates, which incorporate a cycloaliphatic epoxy resin reinforced with polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane (POSS) reagent nanofiller, using out-of-autoclave procedure is reported. The influence of the amount of POSS within the laminate on the mechanical properties and surface roughness of the laminates is analysed before and after exposure to atomic oxygen (AO) to simulate the effects of low Earth orbit (LEO). The addition of 5 wt% POSS to the base epoxy leads to an increase in both flexural strength and modulus, but these values begin to fall as the POSS content rises, possibly due to issues with agglomeration. The addition of POSS offers improved resistance against AO degradation with the laminates containing 20 wt% POSS demonstrating the lowest erosion yield (1.67 × 10-24 cm2/atom) after the equivalent of a period of 12 months in a simulated LEO environment. Exposure to AO promotes the formation of a silicon-rich coating layer on the surface of the laminate, which in turn reduces roughness and increases stiffness, as evidenced by measurements of flexural properties and spectral data after exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2020

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