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TECHNICAL BRIEFS

Ablation and Aero-thermodynamic Studies on Thermal Protection Systems of Sharp-Nosed Re-entry Vehicles

[+] Author and Article Information
S. Rameche Candane, C. Balaji

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Heat Transfer and Thermal Power Laboratory, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai 600036, India

S. P. Venkateshan1

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Heat Transfer and Thermal Power Laboratory, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai 600036, Indiaspv@iitm.ac.in

1

Corresponding author.

J. Heat Transfer 129(7), 912-916 (Dec 17, 2006) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2717250 History: Received April 21, 2006; Revised December 17, 2006

A quasi-one-dimensional ablation analysis for a sharp-nosed, reusable, re-entry vehicle that could possibly be used in an unmanned space program, has been carried out by using an in-house code. The code is based on the boundary immobilization technique and the solution has been obtained using the tri-diagonal matrix algorithm (TDMA). The heat fluxes on the spherical nose cap that are used to determine the ablation rate of a thermal coating applied over the surface of the vehicle are obtained by performing a steady state aero-thermodynamic analysis. The aero-thermodynamic analysis for the viscous, compressible flow under consideration is carried out by using FLUENT 6.2. The computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations are performed at three locations on the trajectory that the vehicle follows, on re-entry. These simulations yield the temperature and heat flux distributions along the surface of the vehicle and the latter are given as input to the ablation code. The shell material of the vehicle is assumed to be zirconium boride (ZrB2). The code is validated with benchmark cases and the flow and heat transfer characteristics are also discussed. In brief, the present work presents a methodology for coupling an ablation code with CFD simulations from a commercial code, to study the effect of change of the nose region on the ablation process.

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Copyright © 2007 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic of the internal structure of the USV nose cap, dimensions in millimeters

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Figure 2

Heat flux variation along the surface of the nose cap (for reentry conditions)

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Figure 3

Nondimensional surface recession rate history for planar ablation for different values of nondimensional latent heat of ablation

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Figure 4

Shape change predicted for nose cone

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Figure 5

Shape change predicted for nose cone including the effect of shape change on the predicted heat flux

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