Study on structural behavior of an atmospheric re-entry vehicle during ditching

Water impact phenomenon plays an important role in the context of a controlled ditching in the final phase of an atmospheric reentry vehicle mission. Loads generated by contact against fluid are radically different from those that would generate in the case of a ground impact; it’s therefore appropriate to accurately assess forces distribution to be able to careful predict the impacting body structural response.

Here, the exclusive use of a single approach known as ALE (Arbitrary Lagrangian-Eulerian) has been done; this method allows to combine the advantages of both Lagrangian and Eulerian formulations to accurately describe the impact of a body in water.

The modeling activity has been performed on the geometry of an atmospheric reentry vehicle, the IXV (Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle), a cutting-edge European technology platform with the aim of testing in-flight performances for the preparation of ambitious future developments at low risk for Europe.

All numerical simulations has been performed with the use of RADIOSS Block, in which robust solvers for the formulation used are implemented. It is then foreseen a subsequent phase of numerical/experimental correlation, thanks to the availability of numerous data from experiments conducted on a scale model of the vehicle in question, provided by the CNR-INSEAN laboratories.


The Author

Dr. Maurizio Coltro
Altran Italia SPA