Plastics For Space Technology?
Plastics for space technology?
Whether it’s a water bottle or a car tire, plastic is everywhere, almost everywhere. It is easy to make and will be durable and cheap. But there are applications for plastics that take it to another level. Their potential applications in space technologies. Sending something into space can cost anywhere from $2,790 to $5,000 per kilogram. Because plastics are relatively lighter than metals, plastics could theoretically replace some metals for space technology and exploration, as well as free up space to carry more fuel for longer expeditions.
There is only one major disadvantage of plastic in space, intense radiation. Extreme levels of cosmic radiation can damage plastic. Kazue Orikasa, a PhD student from Florida working to solve this particular problem, took this challenge by the horns. With the help of a research grant offered by NASA, Orikasa is working on the research and development of solid plastics that have higher thermal stability and can withstand the extreme temperatures and radiation of space. He plans to integrate nanomaterials and plastics to create thermostable composite materials.