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Materials in Space: An Introduction and Overview

Materials Technology

Materials for Space Applications

  1. Alan R. Chambers

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470686652.eae235

Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering

Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering

How to Cite

Chambers, A. R. 2010. Materials in Space: An Introduction and Overview. Encyclopedia of Aerospace Engineering. .

Author Information

  1. University of Southampton, School of Engineering Sciences, Southampton, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010


The components of the space environment which affect the performance of materials in space are described. These include the gaseous atmosphere of low Earth orbit (LEO), atomic oxygen, radiation including vacuum ultraviolet, soft X-rays and cosmic rays and debris both natural and man-made. The effect of the environment on the performance of common spacecraft materials and components are identified and the developments in materials and design to combat degradation are considered. The paper serves as introduction to the more detailed contributions in this chapter.


  • space environment;
  • atomic oxygen;
  • radiation;
  • impact;
  • polymers;
  • metals;
  • testing;
  • spaceflight experiments