Atmosphere Re-Entry Simulation Using Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) Method

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Francesco Pellicani (2016). Atmosphere Re-Entry Simulation Using Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) Method. Mechanics, Materials Science & Engineering Vol.6, pp.195-203, doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.31445.83684

Authors: Francesco Pellicani

ABSTRACT. Hypersonic re-entry vehicles aerothermodynamic investigations provide fundamental information to other important disciplines like materials and structures, assisting the development of thermal protection systems (TPS) efficient and with a low weight. In the transitional flow regime, where thermal and chemical equilibrium is almost absent, a new numerical method for such studies has been introduced, the direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) numerical technique. The acceptance and applicability of the DSMC method have increased significantly in the 50 years since its invention thanks to the increase in computer speed and to the parallel computing. Anyway, further verification and validation efforts are needed to lead to its greater acceptance. In this study, the Monte Carlo simulator OpenFOAM and Sparta have been studied and benchmarked against numerical and theoretical data for inert and chemically reactive flows and the same will be done against experimental data in the near future. The results show the validity of the data found with the DSMC. The best setting of the fundamental parameters used by a DSMC simulator are presented for each software and they are compared with the guidelines deriving from the theory behind the Monte Carlo method. In particular, the number of particles per cell was found to be the most relevant parameter to achieve valid and optimized results. It is shown how a simulation with a mean value of one particle per cell gives sufficiently good results with very low computational resources. This achievement aims to reconsider the correct investigation method in the transitional regime where both the direct simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC) and the computational fluid-dynamics (CFD) can work, but with a different computational effort.

Keywords: space, re-entry, Monte Carlo, simulation, thermal protection system

DOI 10.13140/RG.2.2.31445.83684

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