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Thermal Ablation Modelling of C/SiC for Hypersonic Applications



Hypersonic vehicles are designed to operate at speeds above Mach 5. These vehicles are optimized to have low drag and have thin, slender bodies. The leading edges (nose and wings) are subjected to very high temperatures (above 3000 °C) due to the high heat fluxes. Carbon fiber reinforced Silicon Carbide matrix (C/SiC) composite is a ceramic matrix composite (CMC) that shows great potential for hypersonic applications as it has a low specific weight, high specific strength, and high specificity specific modulus, good thermal stability, and oxidation resistance. C/SiC can be used in leading edges, acreage, hot structures, and the propulsion system. The primary challenge of C/SiC is environmental durability caused by the oxidation and ablation of the material when subjected to extreme heat fluxes. Coatings must be added to the C/SiC substrate to withstand harsh environments at hypersonic speed. These coatings consist of an ultra- high temperature ceramic, an environmental barrier coating (EBC), and a bond coat (BC). This project aims to develop a computational model that will predict the thermal ablation of UHTC coatings when subjected to large heat fluxes. The finite element software used was ABAQUS 2020. Two different models in 2D were created, one for the ablation and one for the stress distribution through the coating. Ablative heat flux was applied at the surface on one side while the other side remains insulated. Preliminary results have shown that as the material is ablated, the temperature across the model started to rise due to the heat flux.


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