Experimental measurements of the high-temperature oxidation of carbon fibers

Francesco Panerai, Thom Cochell, Alexandre Martin, Jason D. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We carried out laboratory experiments to study the decomposition of carbon fibers at high temperature and studied the material used in charring carbon phenolic ablators for planetary probe heatshields. Porous plug samples were exposed to controlled rates of molecular oxygen, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide at furnace-heated flow-tube reactor temperatures between 700 and 1500 K and pressures between 2000 and 6200 Pa. We used calibrated mass spectroscopy to make time-resolved quantitative measurements of decomposition products of the gases downstream of the test sample. Absolute and differential pressure measurements were used to determine the high-temperature permeability of the material and to monitor changes during material decomposition, and we characterized the microstructure of the porous sample using scanning electron microscopy. We found substantial carbon fiber oxidation for O2 flows, resulting in increasing CO/CO2 production ratios with increasing temperature. The CO2 was shown to react with carbon fibers following a Boudouard reaction at temperatures above 1200 K.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)972-986
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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