The scientific and technological objectives of the project are:
- to strengthen the space transportation capabilities and to enhance the capacities for space exploration by developing new phenomenological models to predict the response of ablative thermal protection system in severe thermomechanical environments.
- to solidify physical understanding of material behaviour under extreme thermal loads. Currently, considerable geometrical and physical simplification is a common feature of existing models which include a detailed treatment only for conductive heat transfer and pyrolysis inside the ablation material. Processes arising from thermomechanical fluid-structure interaction, as e.g. the internal flow of the pyrolysis gas or internal radiation are either geometrically restricted to the outer surface or neglected completely. The main goal will be to identify all processes that have a significant impact on ablation and to develop phenomenological models for their description.
- to apply advanced and sophisticated measurement techniques for the characterization of an ablator's behaviour inside a severe thermomechanical environment.
- to use the most powerful European facilities for model validation: The validity of ablation models very strongly depends on the availability of mechanical and thermal properties of both, virgin and charred material which in addition must be provided for the complete temperature range. These properties typically are provided from laboratory measurements which can be performed at moderate thermal loads only and a validation in realistic thermomechanical environment is required. Dedicated validation experiments will be performed in the most powerful European arc heated facilities.
- to increase the innovation capacity of future developments by proposing a new concept: Current models are tuned to a single material and cannot make extrapolations to different (even very similar) materials. By increasing the understanding of the physics, a remarkable step towards a predictive ablator modelling capability, which will improve the ablator design capability and allow tailoring of materials to specific mission, can be made.
- to apply the developed modelling code for flight extrapolation: after its validation with experimental data the new modelling code will be used to estimate the performance of the ablative thermal protection system for realistic flight configurations
- to intensify the communication of the expertise from across Europe in ablator materials, thermochemistry, microfluidics, entry systems and instrumentation techniques.
- To reduce the dependency of Europe from USA and Russia in design and verification of thermal protection systems
- To disseminate the results of the project through journal publications, conference papers, participation on relevant fairs/exhibitions and creation of a webpage
- To establish a use plan for the exploitation of the project results for European space and non-space industries.
O-LIF technique for the measurement of atomic oxygen concentration