Plume-regolith interaction during propulsive landing results in (1) the liberation of dust/debris particles that may collide and strike the landing vehicle and surrounding assets obscuring ground observation for safe landing and (2) craters that are formed on the landing surface, posing additional challenges to vehicle stability and surface operations. The Gas-Granular Flow Solver (GGFS) had previously been developed for simulating the multi-phase gas-particle interaction and transport simulations for the complex regolith compositions found on Moon and Mars. Eulerian-Eulerian models are applied to model gas and particle phases as continuum fluids. This project is aimed at overcoming scalability and performance limitations encountered with the original GGFS implementation through migration of the GGFS simulation models to the highly scalable Loci computational framework. In Phase I, the GGFS Eulerian-Eulerian approach for modeling gas-granular flows was implemented in Loci and the anticipated performance enhancements clearly demonstrated. The prototype simulation tool has been successfully applied to the InSight landing reconstruction effort at NASA MSFC/ER42. Phase II enhancements will include: (1) Vehicle dynamics during propulsive descent and ascent using an overset/moving-mesh approach with 6-DOF motion, (2) multi-component gas and polydisperse granular mixture models for physically-consistent plume/surface interactions, (3) GPU-implementation and performance assessments, (4) verification and validation.
Potential NASA commercial applications include plume-surface interaction effects analysis to support NASA and industry led lunar and Mars lander development projects. Human class Mars lander plume-surface interaction has been identified as high risk by the Entry, Descent, Landing and Ascent (EDL&A) systems integration teams. Lunar lander customers range from current small commercial landers under the CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) program, follow-on mid-size landers, to the now high priority Human Lander System (HLS).
Potential non-NASA applications include a wide range of sand and dust related military and civilian applications such as rotorcraft sand/dust brownout and engine dust ingestion. In addition, gas-granular flows occur in many applications in petro-chemical and fossil-energy conversion industries where accurate granular modeling plays a huge role in the flow behavior of real particulate systems.