Computational modeling of hypersonic flows is now more important than ever with the recent push in hypersonic technologies in NASA and in the defense industry. The state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamic (CFD) capabilities, however, still have many limitations in terms of accuracy, fidelity, and robustness which need to be addressed. For example, a 3-D Navier-Stokes solution with thermal and chemical nonequilibrium requires on the order of weeks to develop a sensible grid, the gridded geometry must be greatly simplified, requires careful monitoring of the solution as it runs since the problems are numerically “stiff” and are quick to “crash”, and the solution accuracy is limited by the numerical schemes employed.
In response to this need, we propose to develop a compressible CFD solver employing a novel moving Discontinuous Galerkin with Interface Conservation Enforcement (MDG+ICE) approach including thermal and chemical non-equilibrium physics. In addition to all of the advantages of standard DG methods, discontinuous interfaces are not explicitly tracked and rather solved and obtained implicitly as a result of the interface conservation enforcement, which is enforced via grid movement. The MDG+ICE method represents a fundamentally grounded and break-through approach, and is specifically designed for flows with discontinuities and therefore especially attractive for hypersonic flows. This capability would enable a faster turn-around for modeling the complex physics relevant to entry-type problems due to increased robustness, higher order numerics less sensitive to mesh topologies and resolutions, and flexibility afforded by unstructured grids.
The proposed solution would directly benefit all of NASA’s on-going and upcoming EDL programs by delivering a high-order, robust CFD modeling capability for reentry modeling. Programs include Orion, Mars sample return, Mars 2020, deployable heatshield programs (HIAD, ADEPT), and planetary missions. This capability would also greatly improve the fidelity and turn-around times for modeling of the different spacecraft being developed by NASA’s commercial partners such as SpaceX, Boeing, and Sierra Nevada.
The proposed solution would also greatly benefit the Defense Industry. Applications in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Missile Defense Agency, as well as the large defense prime contractors such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman could use the CFD capabilities developed in this work.