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An Overview of Spray-On Foam Insulation Applications on the Space Shuttle's External Tank: Foam Applications and Foam Shedding MechanismsThe Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) concluded that the cause of the tragic loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and its crew was a breach in the thermal protection system on the leading edge of the left wing. The breach was initiated by a piece of insulating foam that separated from the left bipod ramp of the External Tank and struck the wing in the vicinity of the lower half of Reinforced Carbon-Carbon panel No. 8 at 81.9 seconds after launch. The CAIB conclusion has spawned numerous studies to identify the cause of and factors influencing foam shedding and foam debris liberation from the External Tank during ascent. The symposium on the Thermo-mechanics and Fracture of Space Shuttle External Tank Spray-On Foam Insulation is a collection of presentations that discuss the physics and mechanics of the ET SOFI with the objective of improving analytical and numerical methods for predicting foam thermo-mechanical and fracture behavior. This keynote presentation sets the stage for the presentations contained in this symposium by introducing the audience to the various types of SOFI applications on the Shuttle s External Tank and by discussing the various mechanisms that are believed to be the cause of foam shedding during the Shuttle s ascent to space
Document ID
Document Type
Sullivan, Roy M. (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Lerch, Bradley A. (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Rogers, Patrick R. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Sparks, Scotty S. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
August 14, 2006
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Meeting Information
43rd Annual Technical Meeting of the Society of Engineering Science(PA)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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