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Shielding against Space Debris. A Comparison between Different Shields: The Effect of Materials on their Performances

Abschirmung gegen Weltraummüll. Ein Vergleich zwischen verschiedenen Schildsystemen: Einfluß der Materialien auf das Schutzverhalten
: Lambert, M.; Schneider, E.


International Journal of Impact Engineering 17 (1995), pp.477-485
ISSN: 0734-743X
Hypervelocity Impact Symposium <1994>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer EMI ()
aluminium; aluminum; Attached Pressurized Module; Druckmodul; Glare; Kevlar; Raumstation; Whipple Schild; whipple shield

The space environment requires the Space Station to be shielded against orbital debris. A technological programme undertaken by the European Space Agency has led to a preliminary definition of the shield configuration for the European Attached Pressurized Module. The envisaged shield is a modified Whipple shield. A second bumper is located midway between the first bumper and the backwall. The work described has been initiated to quantify experimentally the merits of different shields compatible with the APM system to be satisfied. The spacing between the front bumper and the backwall had to be limited to 120 mm. The backwall thickness could not be reduced to technological limits as it has structural functions as well. In addition, the long life requirements of the Space Station precludes the use of unproved materials for the external parts of the shield. Different materials have been tried as second bumper. The effect of the first bumper thickness on the projectile fragmentation has be en explored as well. Shields based on Aluminum, Kevlar and Glare have been investigated. Kevlar 29 fabrics impregnated with epoxy resin were used for this work. Glare is a material developed to improve the fatigue strength of metal structures. It is primarily intended for aircraft skin applications. Glare consists of a 60 percent fibre vcolume adhesive prepreg with high-strength unidirectional or cross-ply R-glass fibres. A variety of lay-up sequences is available ranging from 2/1 (two layers of aluminum alloy sheet bonded by one layer of prepreg) to any number of layers. The 2/1 layers version of the Glare material has been used for this work. The tests results indicate the performances of materials can change significantly with the impact conditions. Glare shows the best performances in the low velocity regime while Kevlar is very promising in the high velocity regime. It is concluded the use of Kevlar can improve substantially the performances of the APM shield.