Processing of Deployable, Metallized Parabolic Reflectors from Biphenyl Endcapped Poly(Arylene Ether) Polymers

Period of Performance: 03/31/2000 - 12/31/2000

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Wright Materials Research CO.
1187 Richfield Center
Beavercreek, OH 45430
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Space mirrors with ultra-lightweight, high temperature stability, space durability, and high precision are highly desirable to improve the resolution and light-gathering ability of space structures. A number of currently used polymeric materials for space applications have shown signs of deterioration due to the space environmental effects. Fabrication cost of large components is another major issue. In this Phase I research, we propose to develop a free forming technique to process space reflectors using AFRL's biphenyl endcapped poly(arylene ether) thermoplastic polymers. This family of polymers have excellent resistant capability to atomic oxygen and ultra-violet light exposure. Thin films casted from these polymers will be metallized using a chemical route rather than by the conventional coating techniques to reduce the interfacial stresses and eliminate the interfacial bonding problems. They will then be transformed into parabolic shapes with small focal numbers. A series of microscopic analysis and thermal-mechanical testing will be performed to examine the samples fabricated. The proposed research will result in a processing technique and highly reflective thin films for space, deployable mirrors with exceptional thermal-mechanical properties, and controllable uniform thickness at affordable price. The proposed processing technique has many potential applications for space and ground structures and vehicles including large-scale space-based transparent or highly reflective thin films, deployable space mirrors, X-ray telescope, High Energy Astrophysics Observatory Series, space-based laser satellite characterization system, communications, earth-observation radiometry, remote sensing, space-orbiting very-long-baseline interferometry, ground based laser relay mirror, space-based radar and microspacecraft. All these and related applications are applicable to both Federal agencies and commercial sector.