Effect of the Fiber Orientation Relatively to the Plasma Flow Direction in the Ablation Process of a Carbon-Phenolic Composite


  • Sonia Fonseca Costa e Silva Institute of Aeronautics and Space
  • Humberto Araujo Machado Institute of Aeronautics and Space
  • Edison Bittencourt UNICAMP


Ablation, Carbon-phenolic, Plasma torch, Computational simulation.


Composite materials are vastly employed in rocket nozzle extensions and as thermal protection shields in aerospace industry. In both cases, ablative and thermal properties play an important role for material choice and equipment sizing. These properties are strongly dependent on the way the pieces are manufactured. For the case of nozzle extensions, wrapping is the most common technique employed, which can be done by diverse ways. In this work, samples of the carbon reinforced carbon fiber (CRCF) were extracted from pre-forms obtained by biased and parallel tape wrapping processes with a resol-type phenolic resin used as polymer matrix, in order to study the influence of the fiber angle in the ablative behavior and thermal conductivity. Experimental results for both manufacturing techniques were obtained through ablation tests carried out in a plasma torch, were compared and had the different behaviors discussed. A computational simulation based in a two-front ablation model was also performed, in order to explain the influence of thermal conductivity on the different behaviors presented for biased fiber samples. Results show that the angle of the fibers relative to the heat flux direction is an important parameter to determine the ablative properties and the thermal performance of composite wrapped structures.

Author Biographies

Sonia Fonseca Costa e Silva, Institute of Aeronautics and Space


Mechanics Division

Humberto Araujo Machado, Institute of Aeronautics and Space


Space System Division

Edison Bittencourt, UNICAMP


Faculty of Chemical Engineering






Original Papers