A group of researchers has developed thermal coatings with the use of metamaterials. These thermal coatings have been developed for the spacecraft and the surfaces of satellites. The group of researchers hails from UK’s University of Southampton. Working for a long time in the field; they finally got success in developing the thermal coating.
To effectively radiate the infrared heat away the new meta-materials optical solar reflector (meta-OSR) technology has been developed. This will not only radiate the infra-red heat but also reflect the most of the optical solar spectrum. All this would help in making it more effectual and perfect to use for different orbital missions. Since all the thermal operations are processed with the help of optical solar reflectors, the thermal coatings would be of great help.
These thermal coatings made with the help of metamaterials are attached to the exterior of the radiator panels. They would work to reject the solar radiations which in turn will dissipate heat which is generated onboard. The optical solar reflectors are made utilizing heavy quartz tiles. These tiles are very fragile. Due to the feature of fragility and being heavy they are not be applied to the curved surfaces. This ultimately enhances the cost of assembly and launch.
Therefore the group of researchers from UK’s University of Southampton demonstrated a new meta-OSR coating that uses metal oxide. It is patterned into a metamaterial which has very strong infrared emission power. On the other hand, the already existing commercial coating solutions are based on polymer foils. These foils do not have a long life, and they deteriorate in their performance. They could perform well not more than three to five years and then needs to be replaced.
With the use of these newly launched thermal coatings, cut the extra cost incurred in the final launch. Otto Muskens, representative and the study principal investigator at University of Southampton said: “The meta-OSR technology is entirely based on durable and space-approved inorganic coatings, which can be applied onto flexible thin-film substances with the potential to be developed as a new technology solution.” He further added and told that assembly and launch cost of ORSs is very high and thousands of US dollars per square meter in spent on it. Therefore if we can improve an even little bit of its weight, it could help in reducing the cost and will be of great help for the space industry.