Engineering analysis of ablative thermal protection for atmospheric reentry: Improved lumped formulations and symbolic-numerical computation

  • Ruperti N
  • Cotta R
  • Falkenberg C
 et al. 
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Abstract

A computational approach for the engineering analysis of ablative-type
thermal protection systems (TPS) in atmospheric reentry ballistic
flights is communicated. We first propose an improved lumped differential
approach for ablative thermal protection analysis, which involves
the use of materials with low thermal diffusivity. The results obtained
for a one-dimensional thermal ablation problem in a finite slab are
compared against those obtained by previously reported lumped differential
solutions. Benchmark results for the local nonlinear model, obtained
through the generalized integral transform technique, are utilized
to verify the proposed solution in a realistic ablation problem,
consisting of a low thermal diffusivity material subjected to a prescribed
net aerodynamic heating. In addition, an integrated symbolic-numerical
system is constructed based on the Mathematica platform for the derivation
and computation of all the related quantities along the flight, yielding
the transient behavior of the TPS recession and thermal performance
for both the constant and variable initial thickness along the vehicle
nose region. An illustrative example of the computational tool and
the typical results for an orbital platform in ballistic reentry
flight are presented.

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