Specialty Materials, Inc.
SPACE STRUCTURE STABILIZATION
Although boron fiber is primarily known for its unique and extremely high compression strength, there are other properties that enable it to solve advanced composite materials problems. Boron fiber’s slightly positive coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) coupled with its very high elastic modulus make it an excellent material for space structure stabilization. Advanced composites made with boron fiber and carbon fiber (which has a negative CTE) in a cyanate ester resin can yield structures with zero CTE. This makes them particularly valuable for space optical benches, where the thermal gradient across the structure can be severe, resulting in components that maintain superb optical alignment yet are lightweight.
Examples of these types of applications where boron fiber has been used include the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, reconnaissance satellites, and the new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The JWST, scheduled to launch in 2013, will be lighter by half than the Hubble Telescope (its predecessor), and 60 times more sensitive.
Specialty Materials has made boron prepreg tape with various cyanate ester and cyanate siloxane resins for space structure stabilization applications. If you are interested in such a product, contact Tom Foltz at email@example.com