Recent Developments in the Field of Shape Memory Epoxy Foams

Loredana Santo
April 2014
Materials Science Forum;2014, Vol. 783-786, p2523
Academic Journal
Shape memory epoxy foams are a new class of materials for aerospace applications as light actuators, structural parts with reduced size during transport, and expandable/deployable structures. They were tested in an experiment onboard of the International Space Station in May 2011 (Shuttle Mission STS 134) and in April 2013, on board the BION-M1 capsule through the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle, with the aim to study the behavior in microgravity for future applications. The experiments were performed by an autonomous device which was in turn composed of control and heating system, battery pack and data acquisition system. Micro-gravity does not affect the ability of the foams to recover their shape but it poses limits for the heating system design because of the difference in heat transfer on earth and on orbit. This could be very significant for the behaviour of complex multi-functional structures in which shape memory epoxy foams are integrated. In this work, the main results of the experiments in microgravity are discussed and some results of tests on ground are shown in order to evaluate new possible developments in the field.


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