Carbon ablators with porosity tailored for aerospace thermal protection during atmospheric re-entry
- Journal Article
Porous carbon ablators offer cost-effective thermal protection for aerospace vehicles during re-entry into planetary atmospheres. However, the exploration of more distant planets requires the development of ablators that are able to withstand stronger thermal radiation conditions. Here, we report the development of bio-inspired porous carbon insulators with pore sizes that are deliberately tuned to enhance heat-shielding performance by increasing scattering of high-temperature thermal radiation. Pore size intervals that promote scattering are first estimated using an established model for the radiative contribution to the thermal conductivity of porous insulators. On the basis of this theoretical analysis, we identify a polymer additive that enables the formation of pores in the desired size range through the polymerization-induced phase separation of a mixture of phenolic resin and ethylene glycol. Optical and electron microscopy, porosimetry and mechanical tests are used to characterize the structure and properties of porous insulators prepared with different resin formulations. Insulators with pore sizes in the optimal scattering range reduce laser-induced damage of the porous structures by up to 42%, thus offering a promising and simple route for the fabrication of carbon ablators for enhanced thermal protection at high temperatures. Show more
Journal / seriesCarbon
Pages / Article No.
SubjectRadiative heat; Porosity; Heat shields; Thermal protection systems
Organisational unit03831 - Studart, André R. / Studart, André R.
02635 - Institut für Elektromagnetische Felder / Electromagnetic Fields Laboratory
03974 - Leuthold, Juerg / Leuthold, Juerg
160184 - Design and manufacturing of heterogeneous photonic composites for aerospace applications (SNF)
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