Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Koenig, Keith

Committee Member

Sescu, Adrian

Committee Member

Belk, Davy M.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Aerospace Engineering


The Earth’s upper atmosphere is suffused by radiation caused primarily by a bombardment of Cosmic Rays, as a result of which it is hazardous for human beings as well as sensitive electronic equipment on board flight vehicles. A series of ground based as well as airborne experiments were performed using Polylactic Acid (PLA), Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS) and High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS), in order to investigate the applicability of polymers that can meet today’s needs for lightweight, multifunctional, and cost efficiency in radiation shielding of electronic equipment. It was found that PLA at 8 mm thickness has an effectiveness of 66% against gamma radiation (i.e., it blocked 66% of the gamma radiation). Therefore, it was decided to proceed with a high altitude balloon experiment with an 8 mm thickness of PLA. The shield was demonstrated to be reasonably effective in attenuating radiation from cosmic rays.