In Space Of Cold Welding

In Space Of Cold Welding

Dec 15, 2016

Mechanical problems in early satellites were sometimes attributed to cold welding.

In 2009 the European Space Agency published a peer reviewed paper detailing why cold welding is a significant issue that spacecraft designers need to carefully consider.The paper also cites a documented example from 1991 with the Galileo spacecraft high-gain antenna.

One source of difficulty is that cold welding does not exclude relative motion between the surfaces that are to be joined. This allows the broadly defined notions ofgalling, fretting, sticking, stiction and adhesion to overlap in some instances. For example, it is possible for a joint to be the result of both cold (or "vacuum") welding and galling (and/or fretting and/or impact). Galling and cold welding, therefore, are not mutually exclusive.