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Stray Light Suppression Coating for Additively Manufactured Aerospace Components

Project description

A protective coating for 3D-printed space components

In space applications, thermal control, thermal emittance, absorptance and emissivity are critical factors to the optimum performance of space vehicles or satellites. Space components that have been produced by additive manufacturing create related challenges for engineers and materials scientists – they need to effectively radiate heat away while reflecting most of the optical solar spectrum. Although the total weight of 3D-printed components can be optimised using a numerical method called topology optimisation, the resulting geometry is complex and thus difficult to coat. The EU-funded SolCoat project seeks to develop an advanced coating solution that should suppress stray light from 3D-printed space components. The coating could also be used in the internal surfaces of satellites to maximise heat dissipation.


Thermo-optical coatings with high optical absorptance and high thermal emittance are a critical technology for a range of different space applications, including stray light suppression, and also passive thermal control of the internal surfaces of satellites. Development of new space coatings with high thermal emittance have also been highlighted as important for accurate absolute temperature calibration (Section 4.9.2 N28b of the European Commision/ESA/EDA Draft Critical Space Technologies for European Strategic Non-Dependence).

In the past few years, the use of additive manufacturing for satellite components (both structural and functional elements) has increased rapidly. This has fuelled a shift towards topologically optimised hardware. Although topological optimisation reduces component mass, it typically results in very complex geometries, which are difficult to coat by conventional means.

The applicant company is seeking to develop a thermo-optical coating for space applications with suitable optical properties for use as a stray light suppression coating, which is conducive to deposition on complex shaped geometries produced by additive manufacture (AM). Specifically, the coating would require high optical absorptance (≥ 0.96) and high thermal emittance (≥ 0.90) along with suitable rheological properties. A coating with these optical properties could additionally be used for coating the internal surfaces of satellites in order to maximise heat dissipation from high power density payloads.

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Net EU contribution
€ 76 127,00
18 ashbrook grove ennis road
V94FF89 Limerick

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Ireland Southern Mid-West
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
No data