One-Dimensional Thermal Analysis Model for Charring Ablative Materials

Antonio Mazzaracchio


This paper presents a one-dimensional model for the analysis of the charring ablative materials used in spacecraft thermal protection systems. The numerical method is based on an implicit finite difference formulation of the governing equations written for a system of mobile coordinates that accounts for the possible presence of surface recession. The maximum allowable operating temperature for the adhesive layer of the junction between the heat shield and the substructure is used as a design parameter for determining the minimum heat shield thickness. A case study on the re-entry of the Stardust capsule is presented. The model proposed as a useful dimensioning tool for the preliminary design phase of the heat shields of spacecraft entering the atmosphere. The model was validated through a survey of the literature related to the dimensioning of thermal shields but based on numeric programs of highly representative industrial standards.


Thermal protection system; Ablative materials; Thermal analysis

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