Article

Thermal Shielding of a Reentry Vehicle by Ultra-High-Tempreature Ceramic Materials

Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer - J THERMOPHYS HEAT TRANSFER 01/2006; 20(3):500-506. DOI: 10.2514/1.17947
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    ABSTRACT: Analytical modeling of thermal and mechanical response is a fundamental step in the design process for ultra-high-temperature ceramic components, such as nose tips and wing leading edges for hypersonic applications. The purpose of the analyses is to understand the response of test articles to high-enthalpy flows in ground tests and to predict component performance in particular flight environments. Performing these analyses and evaluating the results require comprehensive and accurate physical, thermal, and mechanical properties. In this paper, we explain the nature of the analyses, highlight the essential material properties that are required and why they are important, and describe the impact of property accuracy and uncertainty on the design process.
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    ABSTRACT: The behaviour of pressureless sintered HfC and HfB2 ceramics, when exposed to high enthalpy plasma flows typical of atmospheric re-entry environment, was investigated with an arc-jet facility at temperatures exceeding 2000 °C. The surface temperature and emissivity of the materials were evaluated during the test. The microstructure modifications were analysed after exposure. Fluid dynamic numerical simulations were carried out to evaluate the catalytic atom recombination efficiencies of the materials at the experimental conditions. Surface and cross sections of the samples showed the formation of scales mainly consisting of HfO2 and SiO2. For the HfB2-based composite numerical results correlated quite well with experimental ones assuming a low catalytic surface behaviour. For the HfC-based material the surface behaviour changed from low catalytic to partially catalytic as the temperature increased. The post-test analyses confirm the potential of these composites to endure re-entry conditions with temperature approaching 2000 °C or even higher.
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