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Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) ' in use by NASA since the 1960s ' convert the heat of decaying nuclear fuel to electricity. RTGs are an ideal power source for space technology due to their reliability and long lifespan. TAGS-85, a material critical to the operation of these generators, has been found to degrade over long periods of time at high temperatures. This degradation leads to a decrease in the power being produced by the RTG, diminishing its reliability as a power source. This thesis seeks to create a coating to inhibit sublimation which can be applied to TAGS-85 before it is installed in the RTG. Several types of ceramic coatings were applied to samples, which were then subjugated to elevated temperatures for extended periods of time. Several analytic techniques were employed to gauge the effectiveness of the coatings at preventing TAGS-85 degradation.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Chadwick D. Barklay

Primary Advisor's Department

Advanced Ceramics and Glasses Group (Research Institute)


Stander Symposium poster

Development of a Sublimation-Inhibitive Coating for TAGS-85 Thermoelectric Material