Experimental investigation on thermochemical phenomena in SiFRP.

Kenichi Hirai, Yoshiki Matsuura, Kiyoshi Kinefuchi, Toru Kamita.

Advanced Composite Materials, Volume 21, Issue 5-6, 2012.

IHI Aerospace Co., Ltd, Technologies Development Department, Fujiki 900, Tomioka-shi, Gunma, 370-2307, Japan.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, 2-1-1 Sengen, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki, 305-8505, Japan.





This study focuses on understanding and modeling the physical phenomena that occur in degraded zones of silica-phenolic (SiFRP) materials under exposure to high-temperature gasses when applied to a liquid rocket engine (LRE) combustor. Although understanding and modeling these phenomena is considered essential in designing an LRE combustor, few studies on these fields can be found in the available literature. Basically, it is well known that when ablators are heated, a pyrolysis reaction proceeds in them, forming three distinct zones: a charred, a decomposed, and a virgin zone. The obtainable information for the thermal response of SiFRP in ground-firing tests is classified in two categories. The first category involves the equilibrium state characteristics after a long time has elapsed following burnout. This refers to the degraded thickness distribution, which reflects 3D information (the combustor’s inner surface x the thickness direction) regarding the heat load distribution over the entire combustor’s inner surface, owing to the highly insulating nature of SiFRP. The second category involves the transient characteristics of the propagation of the degraded zones in SiFRP, which can be detected using an ultrasonic testing (UT) method. In this paper, the progress of in-depth phenomena of SiFRP and their physical variations were intentionally studied. Our aim was to clarify and specify the quantitative threshold values of the interface points that characterize each degraded zone and the UT reflection point, and then express these values in terms of physical quantities that could appear in a numerical analysis.

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