Thermal Protection System (TPS) is vital to protect capsules from the extreme heat fluxes encountered during atmospheric re-entry. The design of TPS is performed in plasma wind tunnels capable to reproduce the high enthalpy, dissociated flow of the hypersonic flight. However, our knowledge of these physicochemical phenomena is still limited, and testing conditions need to be better addressed for a truthful flight-to-ground extrapolation. Previous studies pointed out that the kinetic mechanisms modeling the chemical non-equilibrium of the flow, and the unsteadiness features of the jet may significantly influence the testing conditions, but they are usually disregarded. Kinetic mechanisms will be investigated in this research project by using robust uncertainty quantification analysis based on a Bayesian inference framework. The plasma fluctuations will be studied through a dedicated experimental campaign carried out in the Plasmatron facility of the von Karman Institute. Time-resolved measurements will be post-processed using data-driven methodologies capturing the main features of the flow, their frequency contents, and spatial distribution. The coupling between unsteadiness and kinetic mechanisms will be investigated through the development of a new framework using machine learning classification methodologies to investigate the impact on the testing conditions. Results are extrapolated to flight and verified using high-fidelity CFD codes and validated with real flight data.
This project is the PhD work of M. Enrico Anfuso, in joint collaboration with the research team of professor Chazot at the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics (VKI website: https://www.vki.ac.be/). Industrial support is provided by Antwerp Space (https://www.antwerpspace.be/).
This project is funded by a "Frank De Winne" mandate from the Flemish FWO (Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek). The 'Frank De Winne PhD fellowships’ are PhD grants strategic basic research under the impulse programme "Flemish Space Economy". This impulse programme focuses on talent, competitiveness, international cooperation, and promoting interest in space among the population.
BRITE contact: Aurélie Bellemans (firstname.lastname@example.org)