THE SOLAR ORBITER

Diamond Coatings were on the Solar Orbiter programme with the European Space Agency exploring and observing the sun.

The craft will encounter sunlight 13 times more powerful than that of the Earth’s orbit and will offer unprecedented views of the Sun.

It’s going to be HOT!

We applied our custom coating to all of the none-facing white panels to keep surface conductivity sufficient at -120C whilst preventing electrostatic discharge.

The spacecraft has had to be coated in a pigment created from bone. The resulting carbon/ceramic is highly durable, and has been shown to be incredibly stable under UV and temperature cycling.

It also allowed for a white silicate layer to be applied as an overcoat. The dense ceramic coating needed a stable interface to compensate for the thermal expansion difference between the hot aluminium on the inward face of the panels on the craft and the cold vacuum of space on the white coated side.

The initial SolarWhite coating was co-developed between ENBIO and University College Dublin in Ireland. However, as a number of the SolarWhite components were not sun facing, they would reach temperatures as low as -120°C. At these temperatures, surface conductivity of ceramics decreases and causes a potential risk for charging and eventually an electrostatic discharge that could jeopardise an electrical system on the craft.

Without the help of Diamond Coatings and their application of the conductive ITO coating on the SORA (Stood-Off Radiator Assembly) panels, the Solar White coating would not have performed as intended, putting key instruments at risk. The collaboration was facilitated by Diamond Coating’s flexibility and willingness to support us with our tight deadlines and the scrutiny that goes with such a big project.
Barry Twomey, ENIBO CTO

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Diamond Coatings operate a state-of-the-art magnetron sputtering plant, equipped with clean rooms, from modern factory premises located in the heart of England, the Midlands. We provide a variety of products, namely Indium Tin Oxide (ITO), Anti-reflection (AR) coatings on plastic or glass, monolithic RFI shielding filters on plastic or glass, Touchscreens, capacitive or resistive, glass supply, mesh windows.
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