The stagnation-point ablation rates of a graphite, a carbon-carbon composite, and four carbon-phenolic materials are measured in an arc-jet wind tunnel with a 50% hydrogen-50% helium mixture as the test gas. Flow environments are determined through measurements of static and impact pressures, heat-transfer rates to a calorimeter, and radiation spectra, and through numerical calculation of the flow through the wind tunnel, spectra, and heat-transfer rates. The environments so determined are: impact pressure approx. 3 atm, Mach number approx. 2.1, convective heat-transfer rate approx. 14 kw/sq cm, and radiative heat-transfer rate approx. 7 kw/sq cm in the absence of ablation. Ablation rates are determined from the measured rates of mass loss and recession of the ablation specimens. Compared with the predicted ablation rates obtained by running RASLE and CMA codes, the measured rates are higher by about 15% for all tested materials.
SPACECRAFT DESIGN, TESTING AND PERFORMANCE