Dielectric characterization of high-performance spaceflight materials

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Kleppe, Nathan
Nurge, Mark
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AIP Publishing LLC
Bowler, Nicola
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Materials Science and Engineering

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering teaches the composition, microstructure, and processing of materials as well as their properties, uses, and performance. These fields of research utilize technologies in metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and electronic materials.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering was formed in 1975 from the merger of the Department of Ceramics Engineering and the Department of Metallurgical Engineering.

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Center for Nondestructive Evaluation

The Center for Nondestructive Evaluation at Iowa State has been involved in the use of nondestructive evaluation testing (NDT) technologies to: assess the integrity of a substance, material or structure; assess the criticality of any flaws, and to predict the object’s remaining serviceability. NDT technologies used include ultrasonics and acoustic emissions, electromagnetic technologies, computer tomography, thermal imaging, and others.

In October of 1985 the CNDE was approved by the State Board of Regents after it had received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) as an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.

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Electrical and Computer Engineering

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) contains two focuses. The focus on Electrical Engineering teaches students in the fields of control systems, electromagnetics and non-destructive evaluation, microelectronics, electric power & energy systems, and the like. The Computer Engineering focus teaches in the fields of software systems, embedded systems, networking, information security, computer architecture, etc.

The Department of Electrical Engineering was formed in 1909 from the division of the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering. In 1985 its name changed to Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. In 1995 it became the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

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  • Department of Electrical Engineering (1909-1985)
  • Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering (1985-1995)

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As commercial space travel increases, the need for reliable structural health monitoring to predict possible weaknesses or failures of structural materials also increases. Monitoring of these materials can be done through the use of dielectric spectroscopy by comparing permittivity or conductivity measurements performed on a sample in use to that of a pristine sample from 100 μHz to 3 GHz. Fluctuations in these measured values or of the relaxation frequencies, if present, can indicate chemical or physical changes occurring within the material and the possible need for maintenance/replacement. In this work, we establish indicative trends that occur due to changes in dielectric spectra during accelerated aging of various high-performance polymeric materials: ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH), Poly (ether ether ketone) (PEEK), polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). Uses for these materials range from electrical insulation and protective coatings to windows and air- or space-craft parts that may be subject to environmental damage over long-term operation. Samples were prepared by thermal exposure and, separately, by ultraviolet/water-spray cyclic aging. The aged samples showed statistically-significant trends of either increasing or decreasing real or imaginary permittivity values, relaxation frequencies, conduction or the appearance of new relaxation modes. These results suggest that dielectric testing offers the possibility of nondestructive evaluation of the extent of age-related degradation in these materials.
This proceeding may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and AIP Publishing. This article appeared in Kleppe, Nathan, Mark A. Nurge, and Nicola Bowler. "Dielectric characterization of high-performance spaceflight materials." In AIP Conference Proceedings, vol. 1650, no. 1, pp. 443-452. American Institute of Physics, 2015, and may be found at DOI: 10.1063/1.4914640. Copyright 2015 AIP Publishing LLC. Posted with permission.