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Application of surface functionalisation in space mechanisms

Tue, 12/12/2023 - 13:00
Start Date: 
2020
Programme: 
TDE
End Date: 
2023
Programme Reference: 
T715-604MS
Country: 
United Kingdom
Prime Contractor: 
ESR TECHNOLOGY LTD
Status: 
Contracted
Objectives: 
To extend lifetime of space mechanisms tribological surfaces (e.g. Separable surfaces, gears and bearings) by surface functionalisation.
 
Description: 
Surface functionalisation (SF) by e.g. laser texturing, roughness modification, surface energy modification has been reported in the literature to be able to reduce coefficient of friction of steel contacts and reduce their wear by several orders of magnitude. Several universities and institutes in Europe have been developing methods of SF for application in tribology.
 
Life of tribological contacts in space mechanisms (bearings, gears) is always matter of concern, mainly in the case of long-life mechanisms (e.g. LEO solar array drive mechanisms, antenna pointing mechanisms, scanners, instruments with rotating components).
 
Surface functionalization could further extend the life of those mechanisms and improve the robustness of the mechanisms e.g. Motorization margin.
Technology development:
It is needed to develop and verify SF methods suitable for typical space mechanisms materials and components, which would increase life of tribological surfaces.
The activity encompasses the following tasks:
? Review of existing SF methods and selection of those compatible with typical space bearing and gears materials with the objective to:
o Lower the coefficient of friction
o Improve life of the tribological contacts
o Create highly oleophilic surfaces (ensures that more lubricant is kept in the contact)
o Improve adhesion of dry lubricant coatings
? Verify the selected methods on sample level (e.g. Pin on disk/ Spiral orbital tribometer measurements) under representative thermal vacuum environment.
 
Application Domain: 
Generic Technologies
Technology Domain: 
15 - Mechanisms
Competence Domain: 
2-Structures, Mechanisms, Materials, Thermal
Keywords: 
38-Advanced Manufacturing
Initial TRL: 
TRL 2
Target TRL: 
TRL 3
Achieved TRL: 
TRL 4
Public Document: