Novel Composite Space Shielding Concepts for Hypervelocity Orbital Debris Impact Mitigation Conference Paper uri icon


  • Micro two-stage light gas gun experiments were carried out to assess the hypervelocity impact (HVI) response of two different composite laminates as well as identical laminates with a graphite nanoplatelet composite sheet adhered to the impact side. Two laminate types were made using epoxy-reinforced carbon fiber pre-impregnated unidirectional tape: a quasi 3D five- harness satin weave (Q3DO5) and a cross-ply laminate. 50 percent of the Q3DO5 and cross-ply specimens had a graphite sheet bonded to their impact side. The projectiles were 1 mm diameter aluminum spheres, and the impact velocities ranged from 2.9 km/s to 5.25 km/s. Visual observations were made of the debris cloud impacts were made on witness plates positioned behind the laminated specimens to assess the size, constituents, and energy of the debris cloud. The woven Q3DO5 composite without the graphite sheet was thicker than the cross-ply laminate without the graphite sheet. This additional thickness resulted in less debris cloud damage present on the Q3DO5 witness plates. There was less of a difference in thickness between the two types of specimens once the graphite sheets were bonded. However, the relative damage to the witness plate for the Q3DO5 and cross-ply specimens with the graphite sheet was much greater than that seen without the graphene sheets. This suggests that a relatively thin light weight graphite nanoplatelet composite sheet adhered to a laminate could potentially increase its resistance to HVI.

author list (cited authors)

  • Offenberger, S. A., Warren, J., Lacy, T. E., Al-Ostaz, A., Toghiani, H., Kundu, S., & Pittman, C.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • January 2014