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Thermostructures and Thermal Control Technologies and Design <img alt="" src="" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /> and Thermal Control Technologies and DesignThermostructures and Thermal Control Technologies and Design <h3>Goals</h3><p style="text-align:justify;">This research area aims at developing and validating advanced numerical tools useful for the design of aerospace structures subjected to elevated temperatures and thermal gradients. For instance, future generation reusable re-entry vehicles must be capable of sustaining consistent repeated aerothermal loads without damage or deterioration. This means that such structures should be able to withstand high temperatures engendered by aero-thermal re-entry fluxes due to the establishment of a hypersonic regime over the body. Thermal Protection Systems are used to maintain a reusable launch vehicle structural temperature within acceptable limits during re-entry flights. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Thrust chamber of rocket engines are also subjected to severe thermo-mechanical loadings and alternating hot and cold phases that could lead to "thermal rachetting" or low cycle fatigue failures. As a consequence, particular attention should be paid to the numerical modeling of complex nonlinear and rate dependent phenomena occurring in the hottest areas of the thrust chamber.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Finally, this discipline is focused on improving the know-how and competence in the field of Thermal Protection Systems, Thermal Control Systems, and every design and modeling activities regarding structures operating in high temperatures environment (aerospace, automotive, energetic and so on).</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The main goals are:</p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><p>design aerospace structures, thermal protection systems of re-entry vehicles, thrust chambers of rocket engines that allow to save weight and increase reliability with respect to traditional aerospace structures,</p></li><li><p>design thermal control devices to be adopted in the thermal control system of spacecraft and satellites characterized by high thermal efficiency and low weight. </p></li></ul><h3>Research topics</h3><p><strong>Spacecraft Thermal Structures and Thermal Protection Systems design and analysis. </strong>In the past years, analytical and numerical models, useful for the study of the thermal and mechanical behavior of thermal structures employed in re-entry vehicles, have been developed and validated in the frame of several research projects in which the laboratory was involved (Figura2.jpg) . Furthermore, several tools and criteria have been investigated and employed for the safety analyses of ceramic and metallic materials. With regard to Thermal Protection Systems, simplified numerical models have been developed with the aim to reduce the computational time needed to perform the preliminary design of such components (Figura3.jpg, Figura4.jpg). Finally, numerical models have been developed in order to simulate ablation phenomena occurring when ablative protection systems are employed.</p><p><strong>Rocket engines Thrust Chambers analysis. </strong>The thrust chambers of rocket engines are subjected to severe thermal and mechanical loadings occurring during its service life (Figura5.jpg). As a result, complex numerical models should be adopted to take into account nonlinear and rate dependent phenomena such as creep, strain hardening etc. In the frame of the design activities in which the laboratory is involved, advanced numerical models are going to be implemented in commercial finite element codes with the aim to better evaluate the plastic strain field in the inner liner of the thrust chamber (Figura6.jpg).  <br><strong>Electro-Thermal and Electro-Mechanical de-icing systems numerical modeling. </strong>Numerical capabilities are going to be developed in order to design Electro-Thermal and Electro-Mechanical de-icing systems that are usually employed in commercial and military planes. The principal difficulty in the modeling of a heat transfer problem with phase-change lies in the handling of the transformation between phases and the concomitant absorption of latent heat in the phase-change zone.</p><p><strong>Thermal Control Devices analysis and design. </strong>Thermal control Systems of spacecrafts and satellites, whose main function is to keep all the spacecraft components within acceptable temperature ranges, have been studied with the aim to develop simplified numerical and analytical tools for the preliminary design phase. Particular attention is paid to the thermal behavior of innovative Heat pipes and Phase Change Material concepts that could allow to save weight and increase reliability of the Thermal Control System. </p>