HyperSizer Customer Paper

"Preliminary Thermal-Mechanical Sizing of Metallic TPS: Process Development and Sensitivity Studies" (17 pages)


Poteet, Carl C., Abu-Khajeel, Hasan, and Hsu,Su-Yuen


The purpose of this research was to perform sensitivity studies and develop a process to perform thermal and structural analysis and sizing of the latest Metallic Thermal Protection System (TPS) developed at NASA LaRC. Metallic TPS is a key technology for reducing the cost of reusable launch vehicles (RLV), offering the combination of increased durability and competitive weights when compared to other systems. Accurate sizing of metallic TPS requires combined thermal and structural analysis. Initial sensitivity studies were conducted using transient one-dimensional finite element thermal analysis to determine the influence of various TPS and analysis parameters on TPS weight. The thermal analysis model was then used in combination with static deflection and failure mode analysis of the sandwich panel outer surface of the TPS to obtain minimum weight TPS configurations at three vehicle stations on the windward centerline of a representative RLV. The coupled nature of the analysis requires an iterative analysis process, which will be described herein. Findings from the sensitivity analysis are reported, along with TPS designs at the three RLV vehicle stations considered.