Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Alexandre Martin


Modeling the atmospheric entry of spacecraft is challenging because of the large number of physical phenomena that occur during the process. In order to study thermal protection systems, engineers rely on high fidelity solvers to provide accurate predictions of both the thermochemical environment surrounding the heat shield, and its material response. Therefore, it is necessary to guarantee that the numerical models are correctly implemented and thoroughly validated. In recent years, a high-fidelity modeling tool has been developed at the University of Kentucky for the purpose of studying atmospheric entry. The objective of this work is to verify and validate this code. The verification consists of the development of an automated regression testing utility. It is intended to both aid code developers in the debugging process, as well as verify the correct implementation of the numerical models as these are developed. The validation process will be performed through comparison to relevant ablation experiments, namely arc-jet tests. Two modules of the code are used: fluid dynamics, and material response. First the fluid dynamics module is verified against both computational and experimental data on two distinct arc-jet tests. The material response module is then validated against arc-jet test data using PICA.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)