Experimental Study and Modelling of Non-equilibrium Radiation During Titan and Martian Entry

Aaron Brandis (2009). Experimental Study and Modelling of Non-equilibrium Radiation During Titan and Martian Entry PhD Thesis, Mechanical Engineering, The University of Queensland.

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Author Aaron Brandis
Thesis Title Experimental Study and Modelling of Non-equilibrium Radiation During Titan and Martian Entry
School, Centre or Institute Mechanical Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-03
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Total pages 162
Total colour pages 41
Total black and white pages 121
Subjects 290000 Engineering and Technology
Abstract/Summary The predictions of non-equilibrium radiation for a Titan aerocapture aeroshell vary significantly amongst Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analyses and are limited by the physical models of the non-equilibrium flow. Of particular interest are the non-equilibrium processes associated with the cyanogen (CN) molecule which is known to be a strong radiator. It is therefore important to have experimental data for these radiating shock layers which will allow for validation of CFD models. Furthermore, a more detailed understanding of the chemical processes that lead to the formation of CN above equilibrium concentration is required. This thesis describes the modelling of the radiation behind a shock using a collisional-radiative (CR) model and presents measurements of radiation intensity behind a shock in simulated Titan and Martian atmospheres. The uncertainties in radiation is more significant at lower speeds (around 5-8 km/s) with these atmospheres when compared to Earth entry. This is due to the formation of CN and because of the highly non-equilibrium nature of the flow. The motivation for this work began with the successful landing of the Huygens probe on the surface of Titan which led to the renewed interest in inter-planetary missions. Thus radiative heating during atmospheric entry to Titan and Mars was the subject of several experimental campaigns and extensive computational analyses. In order to better understand the formation of CN, and the nonequilibrium radiation emitted under such atmospheric conditions, NASA Ames Research Center conducted a series of experiments on their Electric Arc Shock Tube facility, EAST. Furthermore, several research groups in Europe and the United States independently developed CR models to predict the measured levels of radiation. The results from these simulations showed some ma jor discrepancies and highlighted a lack of knowledge and understanding about the fundamental physics behind the formation and decay of the CN molecule and its associated excited states. Based on a comparison of the various simulations with the CR models and the EAST experimental data, it was concluded that the absolute level of peak radiation was well predicted, however, there was a significant discrepancy related to the decay rate of the radiation. Therefore, to add to the relatively small amount of experimental data for these highly non-equilibrium radiating flow conditions, experiments were performed on the X2 shock tube at The University of Queensland with the aim of producing a comprehensive set of benchmark data for Titan entry. The data obtained from these experiments have been used to validate the results from the NASA Ames testing, and due to the large parametric variation, as a source for code validation. In addition to the experimental component of this thesis, an investigation into the simulation of CN non-equilibrium radiation was conducted. It has been previously concluded that there was a significant discrepancy between the experimentally measured radiation decay rate and the predicted value from CR models. Therefore, the primary aim of the simulation work presented in this thesis is to explain the reason behind this discrepancy. Through a parametric study of important reactions combined with an analysis of the reaction set, it was concluded that the coupling between the dissociation of N2 and the formation of CN (through the reaction N2 + C ↔ CN + N) controlled the radiation decay rate. The reason for the super equilibrium concentrations was identified to be a result of the N2 + C ↔ CN + N reaction continuing to over-produce CN after nominal equilibrium values are reached. This is due to the slow build up of N to drive the reverse reaction. Thus it has been shown in this thesis that the behaviour of the CN concentration is controlled by the rate of N2 dissociation. This led to the implementation of a more thorough method for simulating the dissociation process of molecular nitrogen. Therefore, a mono-quantum vibration state specific model that includes excitation and de-excitation reactions for all the vibrational states of nitrogen was incorporated into the CR model developed by Magin et al. The nitrogen vibration state specific model that was implemented was developed by Pierott and is based on SSH theory. The model developed in this thesis is known as the ViSpeN CR model (Vibrationally Specific Nitrogen). The ViSpeN results show significantly better agreement with experimental data in terms of the decay rate, initial rise of the radiation and the overall trends in the data. However, the work in this thesis has shown there are still discrepancies in predicting the absolute level of radiation measured in shock tunnel experiments. This led to the development of a modification to the ViSpeN model (known as ViSpeN-L) which includes a proposed new value for the radiative lifetime of the CN violet transition. The agreement between the experimental data and the ViSpeN-L model is excellent for conditions relevant to Titan entry.
Keyword Non-equilibrium Radiation
Collisional-Radiative Models
Shock Tubes
Additional Notes 28, 29, 32, 36, 38, 39, 44, 45, 47-49, 51, 54-57, 60-62, 65, 66, 68-70, 72, 73, 82, 84, 85, 95, 96, 101-104, 106, 107, 109, 110, 112, 113

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Created: Wed, 15 Jul 2009, 00:46:32 EST by Mr Aaron Brandis on behalf of Library - Information Access Service