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The effect of thermal and chemical boundary conditions on the structure and chemical composition of the wake behind a 3D Mach 7 sphere-cone at an angle of attack of 5 degrees and an altitude of roughly 30,000 m is explored. A special emphasis is placed on determining the number density of chemical species which might lead to detection via the electromagnetic spectrum. The use of non-ablating cold-wall, adiabatic, and radiative equilibrium wall boundary conditions are used to simulate extremes in potential thermal protection system designs. Non-ablating, as well as an ablating boundary condition using the “steady-state ablation” assumption to compute a surface energy balance on the wall are used in order to determine the impacts of ablation on wake composition. On-body thermal boundary conditions downstream of an ablating nose are found to significantly affect wake temperature and composition, while the role of catalysis is found to change the composition only marginally except at very high temperatures on the cone’s surface for the flow regime considered. Ablation is found to drive the extensive production of detectable species otherwise unrelated to ablation, whereas if ablation is not present at all, air-species which would otherwise produce detectable spectra are minimal. Studies of afterbody cooling techniques, as well as shape, are recommended for further analysis.


This is an open access article published by MDPI and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. CC BY 4.0

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