Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 28, Issue 17, pp 4553–4561 | Cite as

Electron microscope observations of impact crater debris amongst contaminating participates on materials surfaces exposed in space in low-Earth orbit

  • L. E. Murr
  • J. M. Rivas
  • S. Quinones
  • C. S. Niou
  • A. H. Advani
  • B. Marquez


Debris particles extracted from a small sampling region on the leading edge of the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) spacecraft have been examined by analytical transmission electron microscopy and the elemental frequency observed by energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry and compared with upper atmosphere (Earth) particle elemental frequency and the average elemental compositions of interplanetary dust particles. A much broader elemental distribution was observed for the exposed spacecraft surface debris milieu. Numerous metal microfragment analyses, particularly aluminium and stainless steel, were compared with scanning electron microscope observations of impact crater features, and the corresponding elemental spectra on selected LDEF aluminium tray clamps and stainless steel bolts. The compositions and melt features for these impact craters and ejecta have been shown to be consistent with microcrystalline debris fragments in the case of aluminium, and these observations suggest an ever changing debris milieu on exposed surfaces for space craft and space system materials.


Electron Microscope Observation Impact Crater Space Craft Interplanetary Dust Elemental Frequency 
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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. E. Murr
    • 1
  • J. M. Rivas
    • 1
  • S. Quinones
    • 1
  • C. S. Niou
    • 1
  • A. H. Advani
    • 1
  • B. Marquez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Metallurgical and Materials EngineeringThe University of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA

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