2004 Volume 47 Issue 3 Pages 365-370
To find out the degradation behavior of polymer in the real space, space exposure experiments utilizing the International Space Station (ISS) were scheduled. PEEK sheets under tensile stresses were exposed to the environment around the ISS orbit, and were irradiated by atomic oxygen (AO), ultraviolet ray, and electron beam (EB) in the ground test facility. This study introduces the outline of these experiments, and shows the results of AO and EB pilot irradiation tests as follows: (1) Test piece surfaces after AO exposure exhibited significant morphological damages characterized by micron-sized conical pits. (2) Thickness reductions of the test pieces by AO exposure increased with increasing tensile stress. (3) Residual strength after AO exposure could be estimated by taking account of thickness reduction. (4) No significant change was observed on surface morph, mass, chemical structure, and tensile properties of the test pieces after EB exposure regardless of tensile stress.