Scientists at North Carolina State University investigated the effectiveness of a new protective coating for electronic components in spacecraft. It is designed to protect fragile electronics from radiation and differs from previous solutions in extremely low weight. The secret is that it is a mixture of glue and common rust.
The goal of the researchers was to develop a coating that would not be inferior in protective properties to the all-metal case, in which the electronic parts of the satellites are now hidden. They are not bad, but cumbersome and, most importantly, heavy. Scientists took as a basis a polymer, which they began to saturate with various metal components, trying to find a composition with optimal properties.
As a result, it turned out that for a high-quality solution of the problem, it is enough to add a powder of metal oxides to the polymer - in other words, ordinary rust. The effectiveness of such a screen is almost equal to the protection parameters of a plate made of pure metal of the same thickness. Only a mixture of glue with rust is 30% lighter and many times cheaper.
The new coating is not revolutionary and does not provide outstanding protection parameters, but it gives engineers the opportunity to make a compromise. You can keep the radiation protection at the same level, but reduce the weight of the armor by 30%, or keep the weight, but increase the effectiveness by 30%. If you look more broadly, when such protection is needed by many objects on the Moon, Mars and in deep space, the prospects for technology can hardly be overestimated.