Material Compatibility Testing
ACE has performed propellant compatibility testing and mechanical property testing of materials exposed to propellants. The compatibility of selected bladder and diaphragm elastomeric materials and metals have been tested. Extensive compatibility testing to characterize the hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) decomposition rate for the selected materials has been performed by ACE. H2O2 is now considered as a possible “clean propellant” alternative to propellants such as hydrazine, that have been traditionally used in spacecraft applications. Material compatibility testing was conducted by placing series of specimens at elevated temperatures and recording changes in mass and size of the samples, changes in quantity and concentration of the H2O2, tensile and fatigue properties of the materials, and measurement of the evolved gas. ACE developed a comprehensive database on concentrated H2O2 compatibility for metals and non-metallic materials. ACE designed a 90% H2O2 reaction control system bladder tank for a NASA experimental space flight vehicle. We have also performed testing and developed databases for hydrazine compatibility and contact angle with aluminum surfaces treated by a process that we developed for producing highly wettable surfaces to allow aluminum to be used for high performance surface tension PMDs. This process was developed under NASA sponsorship and was used for the PMD propellant tanks of the NASA Global Precipitation Mission.
Tests such as bubble point and contact angle measurements have also been also performed by ACE to support the design and development of surface tension based propellant management devices (PMD).