Questions tagged [materials]

Questions pertaining to materials used for construction of space-worthy objects.

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4 votes
3 answers
309 views

What is "aerospace grade"?

I recent asked this question. There, I was also linked to this other question. Both, however could benefit from the answer to one fundamental. What is "aerospace grade"? If sometimes ...
39 votes
5 answers
10k views

What exactly makes a bolt "aerospace grade"?

I'm reading various articles on Tesla S electric car and many of them (one example) say that the car body is very strong because of using aerospace grade bolts. What are those I wonder? I found this ...
19 votes
4 answers
3k views

What makes aluminum aerospace grade?

So what is aerospace grade aluminum? Aerospace grade and regular aluminum or both aluminum. Do they have a different composition or strength? What makes one aerospace grade?
1 vote
1 answer
111 views

What are the risks of using cheap industrial components for commercial space appliances esp. solution platforms for them?

This might be a stupid newbie question, but I really wonder reading that folks use cheap "commodity" hardware for satellites like mentioned here, like boards MSP430F5529 or STM32F407 but for sure ...
2 votes
1 answer
71 views

Antenna wrap material suitable for lunar & cis-lunar environment

I am looking for a wrap (station) antenna for a transceiver (in space/lunar) Not all materials are suitable for the space environment. Does anyone know what wrap antenna materials I can use? I have ...
3 votes
0 answers
106 views

Has one satellite's outgassing ever affected another satellite in the same fairing? Documented examples?

At about 01:31 in Scott Manley's new video RocketLab & Reusable Rockets - Plasma Knifes, Ballutes, Helicopters and... Elephants he says: This occurs during a ...
1 vote
0 answers
26 views

What fraction of the Kapton thickness on the ISS' solar panels was likely eroded throughout their lifetime? Predictions? Measurements?

Background @Tristan's answer to How are the silicon PV cells constructed in the ISS's solar panels? Are they as flexible as they appear here? informs us that Kapton is part of the "blanket" ...
6 votes
2 answers
262 views

What have astronauts used rolls of Kapton tape for?

An image (also below) in an answer to the question "How often is duct tape used during crewed space missions?" shows a roll of the gray stuff next to a roll of Kapton tape, aboard the ...
11 votes
1 answer
152 views

What are the moving particles that can be seen by the Parker Solar Probe?

There ate two images below from the Parker Probe, one of Venus and the second from the Sun. The second one is a screenshot from a recent video (Youtube of Parker imagery while in solar corona). In ...
2 votes
1 answer
104 views

Material used in LOX propellant tank

Most launch vehicles use aluminum alloy AA2219 for LOX propellant tanks, has anyone used AA6061 with additional coating instead?
4 votes
0 answers
106 views

How well does wood thermally perform in space applications?

Wondering if there are any studies about using wood as a material for insulation in spacecraft? My specific question is does anyone have any experience with it working as an insulator? I remember a ...
11 votes
2 answers
5k views

Could sheets of stacked graphene be used as part of a heat shield, since its melting point is 3000k to 5000 K

Since graphene material is the strongest manmade material, with "magical" properties, I wonder if it could be considered for use as a heat shield, since its melting point is 3000 to 5000 K ...
11 votes
1 answer
443 views

Are there relevant resources on the Moon for civil engineering?

We can read about Moon exploitation and making bases on there for long-term colonies. But bringing materials to make buildings there does not makes economical sense, and a large spaceship may be a ...
3 votes
0 answers
196 views

How would we make concrete on the Moon?

Bringing building materials to the moon would be costly. It would be better to just create materials on the Moon.
24 votes
3 answers
5k views

How realistic is the 1 kg/km² solar sail in "Death's End"?

(This question has been migrated from the SciFi StackExchange.) From Cixin Liu's 2010 sci-fi novel Death's End (pages 68–69): "A radiation sail can be made very thin and light. Based on the ...
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Could aluminum undergo a thermite reaction with Martian dust?

From what I understand, Martian dust is primarily composed of iron oxide, which is one ingredient for a thermite reaction. If heated to the proper temperature, would aluminum (possibly powdered) react ...
5 votes
2 answers
535 views

What are some common (but non-obvious) materials that are particularly unsuitable for spaceflight?

If a product was to be made for use in space, there may be certain materials or certain combinations of materials that might work well on Earth, but be particularly unsuitable for spaceflight ...
4 votes
0 answers
65 views

Coatings on spacecraft structures

Traditionally, aluminium spacecraft structures have been alodine-coated to protect the surface from corrosion and resistance to scratches. However, the last few years I've noticed that more and more ...
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why isn't stainless steel used for rocket engines?

Most people have probably heard by now that Elon is changing Starship to a complete stainless steel build. Anyways, it got me thinking, why isn't stainless steel ever used for rocket engines (nozzle, ...
49 votes
5 answers
10k views

How often is duct tape used during crewed space missions?

It seems Apollo missions carried some variety of gray tape, likely Duct Tape or similar. There's the scene in the movie Apollo 13 and the reality behind it discussed in the video below. Question: How ...
2 votes
0 answers
84 views

Bronze material compatibility for mechanism exposed to LEO

I'm looking at using a worm gear for a latching mechanism on a spacecraft that's destined for a LEO trajectory. The mechanism is on the outside of the spacecraft, but the worm gear itself would be in ...
37 votes
1 answer
32k views

How is unwanted cold welding prevented in space?

Metallic surfaces touching in the vacuum can stick to each other and fuse. This is known as the "cold welding" and it seems to be a possible issue in space if it happens where it should not. ...
1 vote
0 answers
105 views

Apollo Cold Welding Mitigation

I am currently debating with someone on a different platform and he brought up the phenomenon "cold welding." I must admit that I had never heard of that before, so I have been reading about ...
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

What are the common space application adhesives used in Earth orbiting satellites?

For quite some time, I am reading about space adhesives. Selecting the right adhesive for space applications is extremely important, mainly due to the high vacuum (around 10-8 Torr), and the variation ...
6 votes
1 answer
161 views

Advantages/disadvantages of wood for surface of cubesat?

Generally aluminum and kapton are the exterior surfaces of a cubesat. A Finnish/ESA cubesat, the WISA/Woodsat was launched that has plywood panels. It has protection against offgassing and very low ...
2 votes
1 answer
140 views

Cubesat surface material

In wikipedia I read that the structure of the cubesat are made of aluminum alloys of 7075, 6061, 5005, and 5052. Is this the surface layer of the satellite or it is necessary to cover it with kapton ...
10 votes
2 answers
7k views

Do chemical engineers play a significant role in space exploration?

I am going to be beginning a degree in chemical engineering next year and also have a significant interest in space travel. I was wondering how much of a role chemical engineers play in space ...
2 votes
1 answer
83 views

How reflective can laser sail coatings be?

A recent post mentions that laser sails, in contrast to solar sails, can cherry-pick coatings that are near-perfect reflectors in narrow frequency ranges. But how good is "near-perfect"? ...
5 votes
2 answers
4k views

How can phenolic (resin?) handle rocket engine nozzle temperatures?

I just saw @OrganicMarble's survey answer that bravely tackles the wide variety of technologies used to make different types of rocket nozzles. One item caught my eye: Nozzles may also be made of ...
5 votes
1 answer
194 views

If a Space Shuttle tile deorbited on its own, what percentage of it's mass if any would remain in one piece until it reached the surface of the earth?

If a Space Shuttle tile deorbited on its own, what percentage of it's mass if any would still be in one piece if and when it reached the surface of the earth? The question was inspired by one of the ...
3 votes
2 answers
337 views

Mercury reentry heat shields; material composition, manufacturing process and explanation of all those concentric ridges?

A collection of photos in posts by Miles Lumbard there is a page titled Mercury Retro Pack Walk Around Page 1 (spotted here in reference to the thermal zebra stripes) can be found nine images with the ...
15 votes
8 answers
7k views

Would a duct tape spacesuit be practical?

Spoilers ahead for season 2 of For All Mankind. Essentially duct tape wrapped around the body, over clothing which looks like standard NASA jumpsuits for pressurized environments onboard spacecraft. ...
6 votes
1 answer
154 views

Is there a very light material that could deorbit without burning up?

Is there a very light material that could deorbit without burning up? I am thinking of a very light, strong, heat resistant thread, rope, net, or sheet that sheds heat so fast as it deorbits that it ...
1 vote
0 answers
44 views

Is asbestos abated before putting space artifacts on museum display?

Asbestos has occasionally been used in spacecraft and other space artifacts: In the Apollo reaction control system. In the igniter of the Apollo tower jettison motor. Vinyl asbestos floor tiles in ...
4 votes
1 answer
302 views

Why are crew EVA cuff checklists wrapped in Kapton tape?

As seen in this image below, the cuff checklists have Kapton tape wrapped around their edges. What is the reason for this?
6 votes
1 answer
457 views

What payloads and launch speeds could a sling launcher get using modern materials on the Moon?

The only reference paper I have found on this subject is this paper by Landis, which is a great introduction to sling launchers - but the concept has been around for some time and there must be other ...
4 votes
1 answer
162 views

What sorts of flexible materials are best for use in space (particularly on the moon)?

Maybe I'm wrong, but flexible solids like rubber have always struck me as something that wouldn't hold up long in a vacuum, or exposed to high radiation, or through big thermal cycling. What sorts of ...
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the most expensive part of a rocket?

I want to say fuel is, but this Question Why isn't stainless steel used for rocket engines? has got me thinking about cost in the long run. What part commonly found on most rockets cost the most ...
3 votes
1 answer
203 views

How will the future Mars Space Suit Helmet design protect Astronauts from Martian Radiation?

Mars Space Suit Helmet Visor's were mostly made up of polycarbonate [1], the same material used for EMU's visor for performing EVA in earth orbit. Meanwhile, Mars' radiation is 2.5x higher. How are we ...
0 votes
1 answer
90 views

Wondering about materials [closed]

I am currently designing a Revit project on the planet Mars I was wondering what a wall on a base like structure need to consist of to protect its from the planet atmosphere. any thoughts ? regards, ...
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Could a Mars surface rover/probe be made of plastic?

I wonder whether the structure of a Mars surface rover or probe could be 3D printed from plastics on Earth and then shipped to Mars for its mission. That is, 3D printed from the common materials used ...
21 votes
5 answers
14k views

Why not build rockets out of composite materials?

Considering how important mass ratio is for the rocket equation, why are rockets built still out of aluminium, and not some lighter material, perhaps carbon/glass fiber composites? I'm aware ...
4 votes
1 answer
224 views

Can or 'how long will' carbon fiber survive in space

Let's assume that social activist shut down metal mines in future. And we plan to built and launch another space station. Can we build it with carbon fibre? or is there any alternative to it? ...
1 vote
1 answer
76 views

What were the Shuttle TPS repair patches made of?

Following the incident on STS-107, three methods of dealing with damaged tiles were developed. The method for large tile damage involved screwing a very thin plate over the hole, after loosely filling ...
7 votes
5 answers
301 views

Challenges and power required to make useable iron from iron oxide on the surface of Mars?

There is a very large amount of iron oxide on the surface of Mars within easy reach (once you are there of course). What would be the practical challenges to collecting this and turning it into usable ...
11 votes
2 answers
255 views

Why did Hayabusa-2's capsule's parachute have transparent panels?

JAXA's photo of Hayabusa-2's capsule, at its landing on 2020 Dec 6, shows that its parachute canopy had some non-opaque sections. Why? Transparency has no advantage for this mission. Compared to ...
23 votes
2 answers
3k views

How does steel deteriorate in translunar space?

To confirm the identity of a 1966 Centaur booster returning near earth in 2020, NASA took some spectroscopy observations. They didn't match those of the same metal (301 stainless steel) on earth, ...
2 votes
1 answer
161 views

Kerbal Gone Wild - Could a DIY team create a Mercury-scale orbital capsule?

Given how much engineering has advanced since the days of the Mercury program, could a similarly scaled single-person orbital vehicle capable of repeatedly sustaining 48 hours in orbit realistically ...
5 votes
0 answers
135 views

What coatings are used for printed circuit board protection in space?

Which coatings are better for printed circuit board (PCB) protection in space environment?
10 votes
1 answer
3k views

How hard is the hardest ice in the solar system? Is it in Pluto's ice mountains?

NPR's Pluto Has White-Capped Mountains, But Not Because There's Snow includes the following: "Initially, it seemed logical that this high-altitude frost could form like on the Earth," says ...