2013 Volume 56 Issue 3 Pages 159-169
A new class of lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP)–-the lightweight ablator series for transfer vehicle systems (LATS)–-has recently been developed. The LATS is fabricated by heating and pressurizing a material in which resin is impregnated in the laminated carbon fiber felt. A characteristic required to ensure the excellence of a conventional lightweight CFRP ablator of the LATS is the simplicity of the resin impregnation process. Since dried bulk density can be easily controlled, this manufacturing method is beneficial for use in the aerospace industry. Here, the ablation characteristics of this material under high-enthalpy airflow are described by a recently developed computer code to simulate the one-dimensional transient thermal behavior. The validity of the mathematical model and the applicability of the ablation code are then discussed by comparing the simulated and experimental results of arc-heated tests with the LATS. A new index adopted in this study predicted the mass loss rate; the measured and estimated values of the total mass loss rate in various test conditions are in good agreement. Thus, a heated LATS material shows excellent performance characteristics for use in re-entry vehicles, and its surface and in-depth temperatures can be estimated using the developed analysis code.