Infra-red and vibration tests of hybrid ablative/ceramic matrix technological breadboards for earth re-entry thermal protection systems

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2017-05-03
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PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, THE BOULEVARD, LANGFORD LANE, KIDLINGTON, OXFORD OX5 1GB, ENGLAND
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A new thermal protection system for atmospheric earth re-entry is proposed. This concept combines the advantages of both reusable and ablative materials to establish a new hybrid concept with advanced capabilities. The solution consists of the design and the integration of a dual shield resulting on the overlapping of an external thin ablative layer with a Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) thermo-structural core. This low density ablative material covers the relatively small heat peak encountered during re-entry the CMC is not able to bear. On the other hand the big advantage of the CMC based TPS is of great benefit which can deal with the high integral heat for the bigger time period of the re-entry. To verify the solution a whole testing plan is envisaged, which as part of it includes thermal shock test by infra-red heating (heating flux up to 1 MW/m2) and vibration test under launcher conditions (Volna and Ariane 5). Sub-scale tile samples (100×100 mm2) representative of the whole system (dual ablator/ceramic layers, insulation, stand-offs) are specifically designed, assembled and tested (including the integration of thermocouples). Both the thermal and the vibration test are analysed numerically by simulation tools using Finite Element Models. The experimental results are in good agreement with the expected calculated parameters and moreover the solution is qualified according to the specified requirements.
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Jorge Barcena, Iñaki Garmendia, Kostoula Triantou, Konstatina Mergia, Beatriz Perez, Sonia Florez, Gregory Pinaud, Jean-Marc Bouilly, Wolfgang P.P. Fischer, Infra-red and vibration tests of hybrid ablative/ceramic matrix technological breadboards for earth re-entry thermal protection systems, Acta Astronautica, Volume 134, May 2017, Pages 85-97, ISSN 0094-5765, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actaastro.2017.01.045