The great majority of modern space vehicles designed for planetary exploration use ablative materials to protect the payload against the high heating environment experienced during re-entry. In order to properly model and predict the aerothermal environment of the vehicle, it is imperative to account for the gases produced by ablation processes. In the case of charring ablators, where an inner resin is pyrolyzed at a relatively low temperature, the composition of the gas expelled into the boundary layer is complex and may lead to thermal chemical reactions that cannot be captured with simple flow chemistry models. In order to obtain better predictions, an appropriate gas flow chemistry model needs to be included in the CFD calculations. The effects of allowing such gaseous species to form in the flow field have notable repercussions on the amount of heat fluxes to the surfaces. The present study aims to examine the effects of blowing of pyrolysis gas in the outer flow field. Using six points on the Stardust entry trajectory at the beginning of the continuum regime, from 81 km to 69 km, the various components of the heat flux are compared to air-only solutions. Although an additional component of the heat flux is introduced by mass diffusion, this additional term is mainly balanced by the fact that the translational- rotational component of the heat flux, the main contributor, is greatly reduced. Although a displacement of the shock is observed, it is believed that the most prominent effects are caused by a modification of the chemical composition of the boundary layer, which reduces the gas phase thermal conductivity.

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Conference Proceeding

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Published in the Proceedings of the 50th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting Including the New Horizons Forum and Aerospace Exposition, Paper 2012-0814, p. 1-18.

Copyright © 2012 by Alexandre Martin and Iain D. Boyd.

The copyright holders have granted the permission for posting the article here.

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