Fully Couple Ablation Model

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Mechanical Engineering


Planetary re-entry is required to sustain very high heat loads when entering an atmosphere, Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) are required for such vehicles. The recent commercialisation efforts by the space community and redeveloped interest in space exploration has prompted for further development of TPS analysis tools. The aim of the project is to build a numerical model using a well-developed existing reactive flow CFD solver in the Mechanical Engineering Department and Imperial College's High Performance Computing facilities. Furthermore, the high speed wind tunnel facilities in Aeronautical Engineering Department can also be used to experimentally validate the numerical coupled model.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509486/1 01/10/2016 31/03/2022
2168687 Studentship EP/N509486/1 20/11/2017 19/05/2021 Monal Patel
EP/R513052/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2168687 Studentship EP/R513052/1 20/11/2017 19/05/2021 Monal Patel
Description High speed flows (high Mach numbers) require mesh high resolutions to accurately model in a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model. In such flows, transfer of energy from fluid to surface is very large due to large temperature gradients near solid boundaries. In complex geometries, due to these large gradients additional mesh resolutions maybe required, further adding to the computational cost of such simulations. A new computational approach was developed which avoids the need of extra mesh resolution in high speed flows. This reduces the computational required for a given simulation.

Second key finding is that energy transfers are more complicated in thermochemical non-equilibrium flows. This can be more important near shockwaves and solid boundaries. For example perturbations through non-equilibrium shocks can affect the downstream flow differently than equilibrium shocks.
Exploitation Route Computational method developed so far can be used in Aerospace and Space sectors for detailed Computational fluid dynamics simulations of hypersonic (high speed) flows. Experiments are often expensive and some flow conditions are so extreme such that, they cannot be re-created in laboratories, for example atmospheric reentry flows. With the Computational method developed here, Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) of hypersonic is possible allowing more informed engineering design.

Furthermore, from an academic perspective, the computational method and tools can be used to study and understand highly-nonlinear flows which do not have analytical solutions.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine