Fluid/thermal/chemical non-equilibrium simulation of hypersonic reentry vehicles


  • S Sockalingam
  • A Tabiei




A multi-physics frame work has been setup for the simulation of surface heat flux for nonablating hypersonic reentry vehicles and presented in this paper. The main goal of this work was to set up a simple approach for the heat flux prediction during the reentry of the vehicle. The vehicle considered in the calculation is an axisymmetric vehicle flying at zero degree angle of attack. Chemical nonequilibrium in the flowfield is simulated by implementing a set of finite rate equations in the laminar finite rate model in FLUENT. The frame work set up was validated with the results available in the literature. Good correlation was observed between the results from the commercial code with the implemented equations and the results from the literature.


Laub, B., Venkatapathy, E., “Thermal Protection System Technology and Facility Needs for Future Planetary Missions,” International Workshop on Planetary Probe Atmospheric Entry and Descent Trajectory Analysis and Science, 2003.

Hassan, B., Kuntz, D. W., and Potter, D. L., “Coupled Fluid/Thermal Prediction of Ablating Hypersonic Vehicles,” AIAA Paper No. 98-0168, Jan 1998. https://doi.org/10.2514/6.1998-168

Olynick, D., Chen, Y. K., “Forebody TPS sizing with Radiation and Ablation for the Stardust Sample Return Capsule,” AIAA Paper No. 97-2474, 1997. https://doi.org/10.2514/6.1997-2474

FLUENT 6.3 Documentation, FLUENT Inc., 2006.

Anderson, J.D., Jr., “Hypersonic and High Temperature Gas Dynamics,” McGraw-Hill, New York, 1989.

Svelha, R. A., “Estimated Viscosities and Thermal Conductivities of Gases at High Temperatures,” NASA TR R-132, 1962.

Gupta, R. N., Yos, M., Thompson, R. A., “A Review of Reaction Rates and Thermodynamic and Transport Properties for the 11-Species Air Model for Chemical and Thermal Non-equilibrium Calculations to 30000 K,” NASA TM-101528, 1989.

Gridgen user's Manual, Pointwise Inc., 2006.

Gupta, R. N., “Aerothermodynamic Analysis of Stardust Sample Return Capsule with Coupled Radiation and Ablation,” Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol.37, No.4, July-August 2000. https://doi.org/10.2514/2.3592

Desmeuzes, C., Duffa, G., and Dubroca, B., “Different Levels of Modeling for Diffusion Phenomena in Neutral and Ionized Mixtures,” Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer, Vol. 11, No.1, January-March 1997. https://doi.org/10.2514/2.6220

Serrancanta, R. C., “Development of Numerical Codes for the Evaluation of Combustion Processes. Detailed Numerical Simulations of Laminar Flames,” September 2002.

Regan, F. J., Anandakrishnan, S. M., “Dynamics of Atmospheric Re-entry,” American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1993.



How to Cite

Sockalingam, S. and Tabiei, A. (2009) “Fluid/thermal/chemical non-equilibrium simulation of hypersonic reentry vehicles”, The International Journal of Multiphysics, 3(3), pp. 293-306. doi: 10.1260/175095409788922284.