Numerical analysis of a multi-species MHD model for plasma layer control of re-entry vehicles
Paper in proceedings, 2018
Several critical aspects control the successful reentry of vehicles on the earth’s atmosphere: continuous communication, GPS signal reception and real-time telemetry. However, there are some common issues that can interfere with the instruments operation, the most typical being the radio blackout, in which the plasma layer frequency modifies the electromagnetic waves in a way that makes communications to and from the spacecraft impossible. So far, there have been several proposed techniques to mitigate radio blackout, one of which is the usage of electromagnetic fields. Previous studies have proven the effectiveness of the usage of an electric and/or magnetic fields to manipulate plasma layers. Experiments on plasma layer manipulation during hypersonic flight regime are extremely costly. Therefore, there has been a continuous interest in the development of cheaper solutions, that can guarantee a reliable degree of accuracy, such as the development of complex multiphysics computational models. These models are becoming increasingly realistic and accurate, as more and more physical aspects can be considered, greatly increasing the accuracy and range of models. However, those models need to be validated with recourse to experimental data. In this paper we propose a model that uses a Low Magnetic Reynolds number, and accounts for five common neutral species: N2, O2, NO, N and O, along with several of their respective reactions: dissociation of molecular nitrogen and oxygen, and exchange. The model chemistry is then validated based on experimental data gathered by several authors.