Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Alexandre Martin

Second Advisor

Dr. James M. McDonough


During hypersonic atmospheric entry, spacecraft are exposed to enormous aerodynamic heat. To prevent the payload from overheating, charring ablative materials are favored to be applied as the heat shield at the exposing surface of the vehicle. Accurate modeling not only prevents mission failures, but also helps reduce cost. Existing models were mostly limited to one-dimensional and discrepancies were shown against measured experiments and flight-data. To help improve the models and analyze the charring ablation problems, a multidimensional material response module is developed, based on a finite volume method framework. The developed computer program is verified through a series of test-cases, and through code-to-code comparisons with a validated code. Several novel models are proposed, including a three-dimensional pyrolysis gas transport model and an orthotropic material model. The effects of these models are numerically studied and demonstrated to be significant.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)