GAIKER develops new hybrid materials for the space sector

Bizkaia, News

The HIPERION project seeks to boost and promote research into space technology and science.

Space technology and science are drivers of a country’s economic, industrial, technological and scientific development. A knowledge society is based on the process of invention and the development of space technology poses real engineering challenges whose resolution has an impact on our daily lives and on broad markets, as it strengthens technological competitiveness.

The HIPERION project, in which the GAIKER Technology Centre, a member of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance, BRTA, has participated, arose with the aim of boosting and promoting research into space technology and science and, therefore, of helping companies in the sector in the Basque Autonomous Community to improve their positioning. To this end, work has been carried out on the development of technologies and techniques to meet the scientific and technological needs of future planetary missions.

The development of new lighter materials, but with excellent resistance to fatigue and impact, which can eventually replace the metallic materials currently used in this sector, is the line of research of this project in which GAIKER has collaborated.

In this line, FMLs (Fiber-Metal Laminates) have been developed, which are hybrid composites formed by carbon and aluminium prepreg in a metal-composite-metal arrangement. To this end, work has initially focused on analysing and improving metal-composite adhesion by carrying out treatments such as anodisation or acid treatment and subsequent analysis based on SEM, confocal and goniometric microscopy characterisation. In this aspect, promising results have been obtained, as the adhesion between the layers is good.

On the other hand, in order to maintain the morphological and mechanical properties of these materials intact at extreme temperatures (-175ºC – 200ºC), these FMLs have been manufactured by vacuum forming, a process that is more energy efficient than other alternatives and that provides an improvement in the mechanical properties. In addition, work has been carried out to ensure that their fatigue and mechanical behaviour meets the requirements of the European Space Agency (ESA), so that in the future they will be able to meet the objective of replacing metallic materials with these new hybrid materials.

Funded by the Basque Government, HIPERION is the first project of the ELKARTEK programme devoted entirely to space


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