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Thermal Environment of Launch Pads During Rocket Launching

Chenyu Lu, Zhitan Zhou, Xiaoyang Liang, Guigao Le

Abstract: This paper investigates the thermal environment of launch pads during rocket takeoff. The rocket plume model is set up using the three-dimensional Navier–Stokes equations and realizable k−ε turbulence model. The aluminium oxide particles in the plume are considered by the Eulerian dispersed phase model. Comparing with the experimental data, the accuracy of the numerical model can be verified. On this basis, in total 16 numerical cases are performed to analyze the influence of the rocket flight altitude and lateral drift on the temperature of the launch pad. The results show that the launch pad has a more severe thermal environment at the flight altitudes from 3 to 20 m. Because of the rocket drift, a high-temperature gas flow layer is formed on the launch pad, which results in a dramatic increase in the temperature of the cross beam. At this location, the maximum temperature can reach up to 3900 K, 30% higher than the value without rocket drift. The method in this paper can provide an effective way to evaluate the thermal environment of the launch pad during rocket launching and have a great value on the thermal protection system design.
Keywords: model / rocket / launch pad / thermal environment / altitude / flight / plume

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