A Decoupled Engineering Methodology for Accurate Prediction of Ablative Surface Boundary Conditions in Thermal Protection Systems

Justin Cooper, University of Kentucky


The main objective of the present work is to demonstrate a method for prediction of aerothermal environments in the engineering design of hypersonic vehicles as an alternative to the current heritage method. Flat plate and stagnation point boundary layer theory require multiple assumptions to establish the current engineering paradigm. Chief among these assumptions is the similarity between mass and heat transfer. Origins of these assumptions are demonstrated and their relationship to conservative engineering design is analyzed, as well as conditions where they possibly break down. An alternative approach for assessing aerothermal environments from the fluid domain is presented, which permits removal of these assumptions but maintains the integrity of the engineering process. Two demonstration cases are presented, one a simplified graphite ablator and the other a mock engineering process for an Apollo test capsule.