The materials will spend six months attached to a module on the ISIS, orbiting the Earth some 3,000 times at speeds of 17,000 mph.
The materials will spend six months attached to a module on the ISIS, orbiting the Earth some 3,000 times at speeds of 17,000 mph.

Scientists from the University of Bristol have chosen composite materials to be affixed to the International Space Station (ISS) to test how they age in space.

The materials will spend six months attached to a module on the ISIS, orbiting the Earth some 3,000 times at speeds of 17,000 mph and will be subjected to micro-meteoroids, temperatures from -150C to +150C, high velocity dust, severe electromagnetic radiation and engineering debris, with data assessed in real time.

This is part of the Euro Ageing program, a £3.5 million European Space Agency (ESA) project which will test 45 materials exposed to the effects of space while encased in a chamber on a platform designed for the ISS by Airbus. The National Composites Centre (NCC) also provided support in to cure the panels and machine them ready for testing, pre-launch. 

’This project will assess how our composites fare in the extreme space environment,’ said Ian Hamerton, professor of polymers and composite materials at the University. ‘The data we recover will be used to make a ‘digital twin’ of the physical material, which will help us understand how these materials – and indeed other materials – function. Not only will this improve the performance of our composites, but it will help us and others develop even more ambitious space materials.’ 

This story uses material from the University of Bristol, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.