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Gas Dynamics of Laser Exhaust External to Spacecraft

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Technical rept.

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Some procedures have been developed to analyze the flowfield of highly underexpanded axisymmetric ring jets operated at high altitudes. The Method of Characteristics MOS was used to compute the Prandtl Meyer expansion fan and flow parameters in that region. The MOC may also be used to obtain some indications about the repetitive expansion compression behavior of the jet as well as the divergent shape of the compression part downstream, when the ambient pressure goes below certain limits. The continuum methods may be used as far as the limit where translational equilibrium ceases to exist. The breakdown of the continuum theory may be evaluated using the experimental breakdown parameter. Beyond this limit, the molecular Direct-Simulation-Monte-Carlo method DSMC is applied. The axisymmetric Monte Carlo Simulation begins outside the nozzle, where the breakdown parameter has a value of approximately 0.05. The actual shape of this breakdown limit is a closed lobe surface which starts at the nozzle lips, approximately follows a specific Mach wave in the Prandtl Meyer fan and closes back to the axis far downstream. Because our interest is limited to the close vicinity of the corners, there the shape of this limit may be approximated to a straight line for an axisymmetric flow making cone. The program runs as far as the collision frequency is still high and the mean free path is low compared with the size of the cells. Beyond this limit the flow may be regarded as collisionless, and the flux towards the solid wall may be computed directly.

Subject Categories:

  • Lasers and Masers
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Astronautics

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