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Although interest in Mars exploration is growing very rapidly due to societal, commercial and scientific benefits, the availability of materials tailormade for the Martian environment is limited. The conditions on the surface of Mars differ significantly from the Earth’s environment. The density of its atmosphere is significantly lower, resulting in lower pressure and a higher temperature range. The distance between Mars and the sun is much higher than that of Earth so the average temperature is significantly lower, approximately -60°C, ranging from -120°C to 30°C. Erosive dust storms consisting of sharp-edged particles are frequent on its surface. On top of this, the biggest destructive factor is the cosmic radiation, which easily reaches the Martian surface due to the lack of a magnetosphere. Because of all these reasons, materials used for Martian missions should be properly designed and tested to ensure good and longlasting performance in the Martian environment.
... Since then, the rubber industry grew rapidly supplying products that would improve safety, convenience and comfort of every human being [2]. It is safe to say that rubber is an essential With increased mass, constant deformations and contact with pointy rocks an alarming wheel damage has started to show [3,4]. While wear and tear will only get worse with the increasing mass, the speed at which rovers will be moving will also play a crucial part. ...
... While it is sufficient for using it on Earth, it is still not low enough for Martian applications. Out of commercially available rubbers only butadiene rubber (BR) and silicone rubber (VMQ) show low enough Tg to be considered [4]. ...
... This is way below glass transition temperatures of typical rubber compounds used in tires. Additionally, the lack of protective atmosphere similar to the one surrounding Earth exposes everything on the Mars surface to cosmic radiation which can damage molecular structure of rubber materials leading to their degradation or hardening[4].Before discussing how to properly design a material that can withstand Martian conditions, it is worth to address one more topicif Martian rovers can successfully drive on metal wheels, is rubber on Mars really needed? Well, current solution is obviously not perfect and the flaws start to show, mainly with the increase of mass and speed of rovers.Each new exploration mission calls for more advanced equipment which results in heavier vehicles. ...
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[Full text in English] Interest in Mars exploration is growing. Martian conditions including temperatures as low as -120 °C and ionizing radiation effectively rule out rubber materials currently used on Earth. The objective of this study was to design and test rubber compounds capable of withstanding Martian conditions. The prepared compounds contained two elastomers, butadiene and silicone rubber, which both show appropriately low glass transition temperatures. Mixing of the rubbers resulted in blends combining properties desirable for Martian applications. For better miscibility and improved interactions a chemical compatibilizer was incorporated. Additionally, to improve mechanical properties a carbon black filler was used that also act as a free radical scavenger. Properties of the compounds were evaluated. Obtained data shows great potential for future Martian applications of the proposed rubber blends.
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