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Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablators (PICA) as Thermal Protection Systems for Discovery MissionsThis paper presents the development of the light weight Phenolic Impregnated Carbon Ablators (PICA) and its thermal performance in a simulated heating environment for planetary entry vehicles. The PICA material was developed as a member of the Light Weight Ceramic Ablators (LCA's), and the manufacturing process of this material has since been significantly improved. The density of PICA material ranges from 14 to 20 lbm/ft(exp 3), having uniform resin distribution with and without a densified top surface. The thermal performance of PICA was evaluated in the Ames arc-jet facility at cold wall heat fluxes from 375 to 2,960 BtU/ft(exp 2)-s and surface pressures of 0.1 to 0.43 atm. Heat loads used in these tests varied from 5,500 to 29,600 BtU/ft(exp 2) and are representative of the entry conditions of the proposed Discovery Class Missions. Surface and in-depth temperatures were measured using optical pyrometers and thermocouples. Surface recession was also measured by using a template and a height gage. The ablation characteristics and efficiency of PICA are quantified by using the effective heat of ablation, and the thermal penetration response is evaluated from the thermal soak data. In addition, a comparison of thermal performance of standard and surface densified PICA is also discussed.
Document ID
19970017002
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Authors
Tran, Huy K. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Johnson, Christine E. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Rasky, Daniel J. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Hui, Frank C. L. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Hsu, Ming-Ta (Chem (H. C.) Research and Service Corp. San Jose, CA United States)
Chen, Timothy (Chem (H. C.) Research and Service Corp. San Jose, CA United States)
Chen, Y. K. (Thermoscience Inst. Moffett Field, CA United States)
Paragas, Daniel (Foothill-De Anza Community Coll. Los Altos Hills, CA United States)
Kobayashi, Loreen (Foothill-De Anza Community Coll. Los Altos Hills, CA United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1997
Subject Category
Composite Materials
Report/Patent Number
A-976112
NAS 1.15:110440
NASA-TM-110440
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 242-80-01
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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