Quantification of uncertainty on the catalytic property of reusable thermal protection materials from high enthalpy experiments

François Sanson, Nadège Villedieu, Francesco Panerai, Olivier Chazot, Pietro M. Congedo, Thierry E. Magin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An accurate determination of the catalytic property of thermal protection materials is crucial to design reusable atmospheric entry vehicles. This property is determined by combining experimental measurements and simulations of the reactive boundary layer near the material surface. The inductively-driven Plasmatron facility at the von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics provides a test environment to analyze gas-surface interactions under effective hypersonic conditions. In this study, we develop an uncertainty quantification methodology to rebuild values of the gas enthalpy and material catalytic property from Plasmatron experiments. A non-intrusive spectral projection method is coupled with an in-house boundary-layer solver, to propagate uncertainties and provide error bars on the rebuilt gas enthalpy and material catalytic property, as well as to determine which uncertainties have the largest contribution to the outputs of the experiments. We show that the uncertainties computed with the methodology developed are significantly reduced compared to those determined using a more conservative engineering approach adopted in the analysis of previous experimental campaigns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-423
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Thermal and Fluid Science
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Catalysis
  • Thermal protection systems
  • Uncertainty quantification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

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