Fluid behavior in stochastic porous structures

Michel Ho, Mujan N. Seif, Sean M. McDaniel, Sébastien Leclaire, Jean Yves Trépanier, Marcelo Reggio, Matthew J. Beck, Alexandre Martin

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Ablative materials in thermal protection systems (TPS) are used in aerospace applications to protect passengers and payload from critical degradation in high temperature conditions. The standard ablator, phenolic impregnated carbon ablator (PICA), is composed of carbon fibers embedded in a phenolic resin. It has a highly complex microstructure – a highly porous fibrous mat with its components oriented randomly in the transverse plane. As such, the calculation of its fluid behavior requires a robust approach. Here, we present a stochastic modeling approach that allows for assessment of properties as a function of local structure. The approach includes a computational toolkit for generating physically-motivated model representative volume elements (mRVE’s), which are confirmed to exhibit transverse isotropy (just as PICA). We also present a methodology for computing the distribution of fluid behavior for sets of mRVE’s using the lattice Boltzmann method (LBM). Based on our results, local variation in fiber geometry within fibrous ablators has little effect on fluid behavior but their global orientation has a significant one and must be a major design consideration moving forward.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Jan 11 2021
EventAIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition, AIAA SciTech Forum 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jan 11 2021Jan 15 2021


ConferenceAIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition, AIAA SciTech Forum 2021
CityVirtual, Online

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support for the first author was provided by the Simulation-based Engineering Science (Génie Par la Simulation) program funded through the CREATE program of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. This work was also supported by Mitacs through the Mitacs Globalink Research Internship program (Award No: IT15256). The work presented here was also supported by NASA SpaceTech-REDDI-2017-ESI-80NSSC18K0261. Special thanks to M. Wright and M. Barnhardt (NASA Ames Research Center), as well as to T. Schwartzentruber (University of Minnesota) for facilitating this project. Finally, this work was supported by NASA Kentucky under NASA award No: NNX15AR69H.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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