Development of a Novel Computational Framework to Investigate Thermochemistry of Melt Flow in Aerothermal Entry Physics

Grants and Contracts Details


Hypersonic vehicles are a key step in advancing travel for humanity, whether within earth''s atmosphere or for space travel. However, the high temperatures imposed by the shock create significant challenges when designing space vehicles. Heat-shield materials are used to prevent the overheating of the base vehicle structure and prevent catastrophic failure. Comprehensive modeling and testing of the heat- shield material, also called thermal protection systems (TPS), is required during the design process for space missions. Designing TPS materials is a major challenge because gas-surface interactions operate on many effects which take place on multiple time and length scales. One of the effects which has traditionally been disregarded is the melted liquid flow on the material, often used as a coating on the vehicle''s TPS, such as that found on the Mars Space Laboratory (MSL). This work aims to develop an extensive computational framework to investigate flow of molten liquid on TPS materials by combining state of the art hypersonic computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling tools with level set methodology. The level-set approach has not been used to model melt flows in hypersonic systems, and the proposed effort could provide groundbreaking solutions in the design of TPS materials and validation of modeling tools with flight data. With this project cycle (1 year), the level-set framework will be developed for compressible CFD formulation and validated with a series of test cases available in the literature. The effort in year 1 will serve as the benchmark to extend the level-set framework to include reacting flows, and eventually thermochemical non-equilibrium experienced in hypersonic entry.
Effective start/end date8/1/201/31/24


  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration


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