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We rely on satellites and structures in space for communications more than ever before. They help provide us with television pictures, telephone calls and a wide variety of communication signals, whilst surviving the hostile environment of space. Artificial satellites are able to complete these tasks and endure in space thanks to the unique materials used to create them.
The materials used in space are, more often than not, the most advanced materials that humans have created and we are constantly researching and creating new and improved materials. These materials need to possess a number of unique properties to be effective in space.
The Properties Materials Need to Function in Space
An object that is continually moving in and out of the sun’s direct heat is in constant temperature flux, which can cause it to expand and contract. As a result, scientists consider a material’s ability to maintain its size and shape despite temperature changes, which is known as dimensional stability.
Structures in space also need to be able to withstand its uniquely harsh environment. This is considered a material’s environment stability. In space this means that the material can remain stable in despite the presence of radiation and the vacuum of space.
The most important properties of a new material which will be used in space are strength and stiffness. When an object is in orbit around the Earth it will be subjected to incredible forces that will tear apart weaker structures.
The launch alone can put a material under up to three times the force of gravity, meaning that each component will weigh up to three times as much