Outgassing, also known as offgassing, is the release of gas or vapour from a particular material or substance, typically when heat is applied. When considering materials that can be sent to space, the material's outgassing must be considered as they can react negatively to a combination of vacuum (no atmospheric pressure) and relatively high temperatures compared to the earth's surface.
When some materials are sent to space, their outgassing vapours can evaporate or boil in the low pressure, high temperature environments and this could be detrimental to the CubeSat.
Things to consider when selecting materials
Since the phenomenon of outgassing occurs by the release of trapped vapours and gas in the material, very porous materials should not be used as it allows the gasses to be released more easily.
Additionally, materials with high vapour pressure should not be used.
The following are a sample list of brands or brand series with tested and approved materials for use in space per NASA. Visit the outgassing database for the complete list.
- Angstrom Bond
- Master Bond
- Round Robin
Cable Insulation & Shrink Tubing
A lot of cable insulation is classified by its type (wire insulation, shrink tubing, silicone wire insulation, etc.) Check the outgassing database for more details.
- Alpha Wire
- Round Robin
Laminates & Circuit Boards
- Carbon Fiber Composite
- Coast Epoxy
- Graphite Epoxy Composite
- Laminate: Check the material code -- there are a lot of types
3D Printable Materials
The following are materials that have been approved for vacuum applications and can be used in a 3D printer:
- ABS Plastic
- Airwolf 3D Printer Rod ABS - AW3D-F06004
- P430 ABS Plus
- PET Plastic Makergeeks.com
- PLA Plastic Makerbot
The other materials that are available for lookup in their database include the following:
- Electrical Components
- Electrical Shields
- Films & Sheet Materials
- Greases & Lubricants
- Lacing Tape & Cord Cable Ties
- Marking Materials & Inks
- Molding Components
- Paints, Lacquers & Varnishes
- Potting Compounds
- Rubber & Elastomers
- Thermal Greases