TCAT - A Tool For Automated Thermal Protection System Design

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Cowart, Karl K.
Olds, John R.
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This paper outlines the development of a new computational heat transfer tool for generating 1-D temperature profiles within thermal protection system materials covering advanced reusable space launch vehicles. The Thermal Calculation Analysis Tool (TCAT) also contains an optimization capability to determine the minimum thickness of thermal protection materials required to prevent the vehicle substructure from exceeding its operating temperature limit. TCAT is designed to be used in the conceptual design environment with compatible aeroheating analysis tools and an external materials database. The code is very fast (executes in minutes) and easy to use. Both single TPS material constructs and multi-layer TPS can be analyzed. TCAT is written in FORTRAN 77. A World Wide Web interface has also been implemented to allow easy remote access to the code. The heat transfer assumptions and numerical techniques used to develop TCAT are discussed. The results of two test and validation cases are reported. The first test case involved TPS designs for a 10 half-angle cone, and the second analyzed TPS designs on a multiple angle wedge with angles of 5 and 10. The designs involved sizing thermal protection systems from each of the material groups available from the WWW interface. The tile materials that were chosen for the design test cases produced unit weight values that ranged from 1.4~1.6 lbm/ft2, and the blanket material TPS designs resulted in average unit weights between 0.4~0.6 lbm/ft2.
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