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Interaction of Hypersonic Vehicles with Liquid Hydrometeors


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During the terminal dive phase of a hypersonic flight trajectory, the vehicle is at risk of encountering atmospheric weather particles, including cloud droplets, ice, snow, and rain drops. These interactions could result in significant levels of erosive damage to the vehicle that could lead to mission failure. In general, the fate and transport of these liquid hydrometeors through the severe and complex aerothermal environment encountered in the shock layer between the vehicles leading bow shock and its surface is not well understood. Much of the existing body of knowledge was generated from normal shock tube experiments, which are not fully representative of a realistic hypersonic flow field. In this report, we present an overview of the state-of-the-art in modeling hydrometeor-induced erosion and then discuss alternative approaches that have the potential to more accurately track hydrometeor demise. We show that the spread in existing models give rise to a large degree of uncertainty regarding the likelihood of liquid hydrometeor impact. We present a series of experiments and resolved two-fluid simulations that provide a more detailed picture of the trajectories and demise processes over a range of droplet sizes and operating conditions.



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