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Surface technology for polymer parts for space applications made by additive manufacturing

: Dietz, A.; Veen, E. van der; Rauch, B.; Schlitt, R.


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -IEEE-:
IEEE Aerospace Conference 2008 : Yellowstone Conference Center, Big Sky, Montana, 3-10 March 2018
Piscataway, NJ: IEEE, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5386-2014-4
ISBN: 978-1-5386-2015-1
6 pp.
Aerospace Conference <2018, Big Sky/Mont.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IST ()
polymers; coatings; three-dimensional printing; plastics; surface treatment; metallization

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is an upcoming technology used in the making of structural parts for space applications. This new technology uses primarily metallic materials like Ti6Al4V or aluminum alloys. The benefits are obvious: Due to the freedom of construction with AM-Technology, there is an enormous potential for mass reduction compared with parts made by traditional processes such as turning or milling. For further mass reduction, however, the use of polymers is becoming more and more in demand. The main challenges with using polymers are low mechanical strength and the outgassing of water and monomers that occurs in space. Metallizing these polymer parts by electroplating increase the mechanical strength of the polymers via the so-called sandwich effect. A dense metallic layer can also prevent the problem of outgassing from occurring. This paper will present the fundamentals of this idea and discuss the metallization of additive manufacturing polymer parts for space applications.