Editorial Feature

Nanodiamonds in Space: Applications in Satellites

Nanodiamonds are a unique material with properties that make them highly suitable for a range of applications, including in the aerospace and satellite industries. This article provides an overview of nanodiamonds, their applications in aerospace and satellite industries, commercial examples, and prospects.

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Nanodiamonds: An Overview of a Unique Material

Nanodiamonds are a promising material with a range of applications in various fields, including aerospace and satellites. They are typically produced by smashing nanotubes against a target at high speeds. This process causes the nanotubes to break down, forming tiny diamond particles less than 10 nanometers.

Due to their unique properties, nanodiamonds have gained attention in recent years. They are known for their remarkable mechanical, optical, and thermal properties, making them highly suitable for a range of applications.

One of the most interesting properties of nanodiamonds is their hardness. They are one of the hardest materials known, with a hardness level close to that of natural diamonds.

As a result, nanodiamonds are highly resistant to wear and abrasion, making them ideal for use in applications where durability is essential. In addition, nanodiamonds have excellent thermal conductivity, making them useful in applications where heat dissipation is important.

Nanodiamonds also have unique optical properties. They have a broad absorption spectrum, ranging from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. This makes them useful for a range of optical applications, including as fluorescence markers and as components in optical devices.

Nanodiamonds in Aerospace and Satellites: Applications and Advantages

The aerospace and satellite industries have numerous applications for nanodiamonds. One of the primary uses of nanodiamonds in these industries is as a coating material. The coating is applied to parts and surfaces of aircraft, satellites, and rockets to provide enhanced mechanical and thermal properties.

The use of nanodiamond coatings can improve the wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and thermal conductivity of components. Additionally, nanodiamond coatings can improve the efficiency of propulsion systems by reducing friction and wear.

Another application of nanodiamonds is in the development of composite materials. Composite materials are widely used in the aerospace industry due to their lightweight and high-strength properties. Nanodiamonds can be added to the matrix material of composites to improve their strength and durability. Adding nanodiamonds to composite materials can also improve their thermal and electrical properties.

Nanodiamonds are also used in lubrication and polishing applications. Due to their hardness and low friction coefficient, they can be used as additives in lubricants to improve their performance. Similarly, they can be used in polishing applications to produce high-quality, scratch-free surfaces.

Real-world Applications of Nanodiamonds in Aerospace and Satellites

Several companies and research groups are working on nanodiamonds for aerospace and satellite applications.

One such company is Carbodeon, a Finnish nanodiamond manufacturer. Carbodeon produces nanodiamond coatings for use in the aerospace and satellite industries. Their coatings are applied to turbine blades and rocket nozzles to improve their performance. Carbodeon's nanodiamond coatings have been shown to improve the durability and wear resistance of components, as well as enhance thermal conductivity.

Another company working on nanodiamonds is Element Six, a UK-based synthetic diamond manufacturer. Element Six produces nanodiamonds for use in composites and as a coating material. Their nanodiamonds are used in the aerospace industry to improve the mechanical and thermal properties of components. For example, Element Six's nanodiamond composites have been shown to improve the fatigue resistance and damage tolerance of aircraft structures.

A recent study published in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces focuses on the production of nanodiamonds for satellite applications by ballistic fragmentation of carbon nanotubes at various velocities. The results demonstrate that such high-energy collisions can cause the atomic bonds in the nanotubes to shatter and, in some cases, reform into distinct structures.

Prospects of Nanodiamonds in Aerospace and Satellites

The prospects of nanodiamonds in the aerospace and satellite industries are promising. As researchers continue to explore the unique properties of nanodiamonds, new applications for this material are likely to emerge. In particular, the use of nanodiamonds in additive manufacturing (3D printing) is an area of active research. By incorporating nanodiamonds into 3D printed parts, it may be possible to improve their mechanical and thermal properties.

In addition, there is growing interest in the use of nanodiamonds as a radiation shield. The aerospace and satellite industries face significant challenges in protecting their equipment and personnel from the harmful effects of radiation. Nanodiamonds have been shown to have excellent radiation shielding properties due to their high density and atomic composition. By incorporating nanodiamonds into shielding materials, it may be possible to improve the effectiveness of radiation protection systems.

Finally, there is also potential for the use of nanodiamonds in the development of new propulsion systems. Nanodiamonds have been shown to have unique thermal properties that make them ideal for use in thermal propulsion systems. Researchers are currently exploring the use of nanodiamonds in a range of propulsion systems, including electric and chemical rockets.

In conclusion, nanodiamonds are a fascinating material with unique properties that make them highly suitable for a range of applications, including in the aerospace and satellite industries. Their hardness, thermal conductivity, and optical properties make them ideal for use in coatings, composites, lubricants, and polishing applications.

The commercial examples of nanodiamonds in these industries demonstrate their potential to improve the durability and performance of components. As research continues, new applications for nanodiamonds in the aerospace and satellite industries will likely emerge, making this material an increasingly important part of the industry's toolkit.

Making Earth Observation Cost-Efficient with Nanosatellites

References and Further Reading

Carbodeon. (2022). Carbodeon NanoDiamonds PTFE Coating doubles surface durability and reduces friction by up to 66 percent. [Online] InterNano. Available at: https://www.internano.org/node/782

Element Six. (2020). Automotive and Aerospace. [Online] Element Six. Available at: https://www.e6.com/en/products/automotive-and-aerospace

EnviroDiamond. (2016). What Are Nanodiamonds? [Online] EnviroDiamond Technologies. Available at: https://envirodiamond.net/what-are-nano-diamonds/

Ozden, S., Machado, L. D., Tiwary, C., Autreto, P. A., Vajtai, R., Barrera, E. V., . . . Ajayan, P. M. (2016). Ballistic Fracturing of Carbon Nanotubes. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. doi.org/10.1021/acsami.6b07547

Thekkedath, A., & Sridharan, K. (2022). Nanodiamonds and Its Applications. In Applications and Use of Diamond. doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.108326

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Hussain Ahmed

Written by

Hussain Ahmed

Hussain graduated from Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad with Bachelors in Aerospace Engineering. During his studies, he worked on several research projects related to Aerospace Materials & Structures, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Nano-technology & Robotics. After graduating, he has been working as a freelance Aerospace Engineering consultant. He developed an interest in technical writing during sophomore year of his B.S degree and has wrote several research articles in different publications. During his free time, he enjoys writing poetry, watching movies and playing Football.

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