A radiant heat flux gage calibration system exists in the Flight Loads Laboratory at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. This calibration system must be well understood if the heat flux gages calibrated in it are to provide useful data during radiant heating ground tests or flight tests of high speed aerospace vehicles. A part of the calibration system characterization process is to develop a numerical model of the flat plate heater element and heat flux gage, which will help identify errors due to convection, heater element erosion, and other factors.

A 2-dimensional mathematical model of the gage-plate system has been developed to simulate the combined problem involving convection, radiation and mass loss by chemical reaction. A fourth order finite difference scheme is used to solve the steady state governing equations and determine the temperature distribution in the gage and plate, incident heat flux on the gage face, and flat plate erosion. Initial gage heat flux predictions from the model are found to be within ±7% of experimental results.

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