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Case Studies in Transient Heat Transfer With Sensitivities to Governing Variables
M. Kemal Atesmen
M. Kemal Atesmen
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The surface boundary of a spacecraft entering Earth’s atmosphere from space at very high speeds, i.e. about 18,000 mph, experiences high heat loads, i.e. in the order of 107 W/m2, due to convection and radiation heat transfers and aerodynamic heating. Ablating materials are used to capture most of the incoming heat load to protect the spacecraft, its occupants and its instruments from excessive heat loads. Ablation of special materials such as teflon, phenolic nylon, and silicon based ablative materials are used to cover surfaces of a spacecraft in order to absorb, melt and evaporate during this high heat load event. These ablative materials have special characteristic such as low thermal conductivity, low density, low coefficient of thermal expansion, high emissivity and high melting temperatures.

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