Numerical modelling of radiating superorbital flows


  • R. J. Gollan
  • P. A. Jacobs
  • S. Karl
  • S. C. Smith



Experimental aerodynamic studies of the flows around new aerocapture spacecraft configurations are presently being done in the superorbital expansion tubes at The University of Queensland. Short duration flows at speeds of 10--13 km/s are produced in the expansion tube facility and are then applied to the model spacecraft. Although high-temperature effects, such as molecular dissociation, have long been a part of the computational modelling of the expansion tube flows for speeds below 10 km/s, radiation may now be a significant mechanism of energy transfer within the shock layer on the model. This paper will study the coupling of radiation energy transport for an optically thin gas to the flow dynamics in order to obtain accurate predictions of thermal loads on the spacecraft. The results show that the effect of radiation on the flowfields of subscale models for expansion tube experiments can be assessed by measurements of total heat transfer and radiative heat transfer.





Proceedings Computational Techniques and Applications Conference