Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Mark F. Reeder, PhD


The high speed/high-temperature effect of heat shield ablation was simulated in the low-enthalpy AFRL Mach 6 Ludwieg Tube using solid dry ice as a low-temperature sublimator. The experiments utilized both 21 half-angle cones and bi-conic models with a 7 ° half-angle leading edge followed by a 26° half-angle base contained within a cryogenic-cooled stainless steel holder. A method of fabricating dry ice test articles was developed using commercially procured dry ice and custom-made aluminum molds. Tests were performed at Mach 6.1 with a stagnation temperature of 490 K and stagnation pressures ranging from 40 - 500 psi. Unit Reynolds number ranged from 2.6 x 106 to 23 x 106 m−1 . High-speed Schlieren photography with a frame rate of 20 kHz was used for visualization and data analysis. The observed ablation rates compared favorably to previous research and were analyzed using the Fay-Riddell stagnation point heating correlation. This exploratory effort demonstrated the potential for other uses of dry ice test models in the facility, including for store separation experiments and localized particle-based flow visualization.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number