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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2010, Article ID 257957, 7 pages
Research Article

Behavior of Carbon-Carbon Composite under Intense Heating

Department of Applied Mechanics, Indian Institute of Technology, 600 036 Madras, India

Received 31 July 2009; Accepted 10 February 2010

Academic Editor: S. Gopalakrishnan

Copyright © 2010 R. Palaninathan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper is concerned with modeling of ablation behavior of carbon-carbon composites used in hot spot areas of reentry space and hypersonic vehicles. Of the three modes of ablation (thermal, chemical and mechanical), the chemical (oxidation) is considered to influence the performance of the material. Aerodynamic heat flux need to be computed separately and is the input for this. The thermal field is obtained by 3D finite element method. Nonlinear transient thermal analysis is carried out, as the material properties are dependent on temperatures. Oxidation rates are computed using the analytical relations available in literature. The oxidation is divided into two regimes: reaction rate and diffusion rate controlled. Mainly the surface temperature controls the regime. The oxidation protected materials are considered by using the parameter “activation energy.” The variations of ambient temperature, pressure and oxygen concentration with altitude are taken into consideration. As the recession takes place, newer surfaces are exposed to aerodynamic heating. Numerical examples are presented to show the effects of: heat flux, altitude and oxidation protection on the recession characteristics. Change of regime from reaction to diffusion rate control depends on parameters such as flow velocity and altitude. The latter has significant influence on ablation rate.