Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Anthony N. Palazotto, PhD


The Holloman High Speed Test Track is a rocket sled track for testing at hypersonic velocities. However, there are customers that desire to test at even greater velocities. In order to achieve higher velocities there are several phenomena that must be overcome. One important phenomenon is wear of the shoe that holds the sled on the rail. This research is a look at the feasibility of using finite element analysis to predict the wear of the shoe during a test run down the track. Two methods are investigated, one is a macro-scale, incremental method utilizing traditional wear equations from Archard, the other is a micro-scale, material property method that using a failure criteria to determine the amount of wear. These methods are implemented at low velocities to allow for comparison to results from the literature. While the incremental method was found to provide accurate results, there are many numerical problems associated with it. The material property method was found to be feasible, but more research is needed to validate and calibrate the process.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number