Qualifications of Bonding Process of Temperature Sensors to Deep- Space Missions

A process has been examined for bonding a platinum resistance thermometer (PRT) onto potential aerospace materials such as flat aluminum surfaces and a flexible copper tube to simulate coaxial cables for flight applications. Primarily, PRTs were inserted into a silver-plated copper braid to avoid stresses on the sensor while the sensor was attached with the braid to the base material for long-duration, deep-space missions.

A1-1145/graphite composite (planar substrate) and copper tube have been used in this study to assess the reliability of PRT bonding materials. A flexible copper tube was chosen to simulate the coaxial cable to attach PRTs. The substrate materials were cleaned with acetone wipes to remove oils and contaminants. Later, the surface was also cleaned with ethyl alcohol and was airdried. The materials were gently abraded and then were cleaned again the same way as previously mentioned.

Initially, shielded (silver plated copper braid) PRT (type X) test articles were fabricated and cleaned. The base antenna material was pretreated and shielded, and CV-2566 NuSil silicone was used to attach the shielded PRT to the base material. The test articles were cured at room temperature and humidity for seven days. The resistance of the PRTs was continuously monitored during the thermal cycling, and the test articles were inspected prior to, at various intermediate steps during, and at the end of the thermal cycling as well. All of the PRTs survived three times the expected mission life for the JUNO project. No adhesion problems were observed in the PRT sensor area, or under the shielded PRT. Furthermore, the PRT resistance accurately tracked the thermal cycling of the chamber.

This work was done by Rajeshuni Ramesham, Amarit Kitiyakara, Richard W. Redick III, and Eric T. Sunada of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-47682

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