Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


College of Engineering


Kira Abercromby

Advisor Department

Aerospace Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


An important consideration for spacecraft material selection is the space environment that the spacecraft will be operating in. Two features of the space environment that drive material selection are material outgassing and the presence of atomic oxygen in low Earth orbit (LEO). Materials that are considered for use in space are tested to be able to understand how they’ll outgas on orbit and how they’ll respond to interactions with atomic oxygen. However, testing to understand how atomic oxygen interaction with a material will affect how the material will outgas is rare and not standardized. This thesis used a vacuum chamber intended to determine the outgassing properties of materials using ASTM E595 and another vacuum chamber intended to determine how materials are affected by atomic oxygen using ASTM E2089 to determine how atomic oxygen affects outgassing of silicones, which are of interest as atomic oxygen can alter the chemical composition of the surface of silicones. CV-2500, CV2-2289- 1, and SCV2-2590, three silicone elastomers that are products of NuSil Technology LLC, were tested. Significant trends in atomic oxygen reducing the amount of matter outgassed from these three materials were observed. This can be explained by the conversion of the surface of silicone to silica, which was confirmed using Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Retesting of these three materials in a chamber designed for ASTM E595 with a temperature measurement system capable of adhering to ASTM E595 to confirm the results of this thesis with more confidence in uniform temperature exposure is recommended.