IET - Space Tribology

31st May 2023 12:30 pm

This webinar is organised by the IET Tribology Technical Network (TN), supported by the Aerospace and Satellite TNs and aims to share the research being done in this particular field of tribology, to design tribological systems which are reliable to withstand the extreme space environment. We will hear from two leading tribologists in this sectorr Simon Lewis and Gregory de Boer and the webinar will be moderated by Andrew Florez.

50 Years of Space Tribology - What Next, Where Next and How?

By Simon Lewis

The European Space Tribology (ESTL) was founded, in Warrington, in 1972 with a remit “to increase the efficiency and reliability of spacecraft through the application of good tribology”. Operated on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) by ESR Technology, this ” ESA external laboratory” and centre of excellence in space tribology has supported hundreds of space missions in various ways since its inception. Still today, ESTL continues to make notable contributions to space mechanisms technology, promote best practice, develop tribological solutions and provide lubricants for a growing scientific, institutional and commercial space market.

Starting from a brief historical overview, this presentation will discuss some of the highlights and challenges of space tribology and the solutions adopted. With reference to current trends in space missions, specific mechanism applications and recently completed R&D activities it will show some of the technical challenges of future missions being addressed by space tribologists and spacecraft mechanism engineers.

Lubrication modelling for space vehicle design

By Gregory de Boer

The design of space vehicles requires extremely high reliability rates for the constitutive mechanical actuated systems to avoid critical failure. The tribological interactions within these systems are similar to those observed on the Earth’s surface but often relate to dynamic operating conditions with unstable behaviours, for example in the instantaneous deployment of spring-loaded connectors or the pilot operated rotation of a solar panel toward the Sun.

Lubrication of these systems is therefore of vital importance to the design and reliable operation of space vehicles, conventional approaches to modelling lubrication apply but must also be capable of determining dynamic performance under non-standard unstable load variations.

In this talk the strategy for modelling lubricated systems in space vehicles will be discussed and demonstrated for an example sub-system under representative conditions, the complexity of modelling lubricant flow, cavitation, rheology, contact mechanics, surface features, and dynamic unstable loading will each be introduced and analysed.

Listed in Other Institutions' Events

Cite Top