Modelling and simulation of transpiration cooling systems for atmospheric re-entry

Bandivadekar, Deep and Minisci, Edmondo (2020) Modelling and simulation of transpiration cooling systems for atmospheric re-entry. Aerospace, 7 (7). 89. ISSN 2052-451X (

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Aerothermodynamic heating is one of the primary challenges faced in progressing towards reliable hypersonic transportation. In the present study, the transpiration cooling method applied to the thermal protection system of re-entry vehicles is investigated. The complexity in analysing the incoming heat flux for re-entry lies not only in the extreme conditions of the flow but also in the fact that the coolant flow through the porous medium needs to be treated appropriately. While the re-entering spacecraft passes through various flow regimes, the peak conditions are faced only near continuum regime. Focusing on these conditions, traditional computational fluid dynamics techniques are used to model transpiration cooling for re-entry vehicles. In the current work, the open source CFD framework OpenFOAM is used to couple two different solvers iteratively and then analyse the thermal response for flow speed conditions typical of re-entry vehicles. Independent computations are performed using the explicit, loosely coupled procedure for high speed argon flow over a 2D axi-symmetrical cylindrical vehicle. The results presented indicate distinct heat flux drop along the surface of the cylindrical vehicle as a function of parameters such as coolant pressure and wall temperature.