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Flywheel energy storage offers an attractive alternative to battery systems used in space applications such as the International Space Station. Rotor designs capable of high specific energies benefit from the load carrying capacity of hoop wound carbon fibers but their long-term durability may be limited by time-temperature dependent radial deformations. This was investigated for the carbon/epoxy rotor material, IM7/8552. Coupon specimens were sectioned from filament wound panels. These were tested in compression and tension at room temperature (RT), 95 and 135 C for strain rates from 5x10(exp -6) per second to 5x10(exp -3) per second. Time, temperature and load sign dependent effects were significant transverse to the fiber. At -0.5 percent strain for 72 hr, compressive stresses relaxed 16.4 percent at 135 C and 13 percent at 95 C. Tensile stresses relaxed only 7 percent in 72 hr at 135 C for 0.5 percent strain. Using linear hereditary material response and Boltzmann s principle of superposition to describe this behavior is problematic if not intractable. Micromechanics analysis including the effects of processing residual stresses is needed to resolve the paradoxes. Uniaxial compressive stress relaxation data may be used to bound the loss of radial pre-load stresses in flywheel rotors.
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