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High-Fidelity Gas and Granular Flow Physics Models for Rocket Exhaust Interaction with Lunar Soil

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX10CB66C
Agency Tracking Number: 080089
Amount: $599,992.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: T7.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2008
Award Year: 2010
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2010-09-14
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2013-06-14
Small Business Information
215 Wynn Drive, 5th Floor
Huntsville, AL 35805-1944
United States
DUNS: 185169620
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Peter Liever
 Principal Investigator
 (256) 726-4800
Business Contact
 Silvia Harvey
Title: Business Official
Phone: (256) 726-4858
Research Institution
 University of Florida
 Roslyn S. Heath
P.O. Box 116550 (339) Weil Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611
United States

 (352) 392-9448
 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

Current modeling of Lunar and Martian soil erosion and debris transport caused by rocket plume impingement lacks essential physics from the peculiar granular characteristics of highly irregular regolith particles. Current granular mechanics models are based on mono-disperse spherical particles empiricism unsuitable for capturing the poly-disperse irregularly shaped grain mechanics. CFDRC and the University of Florida successfully demonstrated a novel approach in Phase I to develop granular mechanics constitutive models through innovative Discrete Element Methods emulating non-spherical, jagged particles constructed as clusters of linked/overlapping spheres. This first principle modeling captures the fundamental relationship between particle shape and particle-phase stress, cohesion, and particle flow kinetics. In Phase II, detailed regolith granular flow constituent models will be derived with these methods. An Eulerian granular phase model with the resulting constitutive models will be implemented in the Unified Flow Solver (UFS) simulation framework developed by CFDRC and UF for lunar debris transport and applied in Eulerian multi-phase gas-regolith interaction simulations. Surface stresses from turbulent jet plume scouring and regolith roughness that amplify erosion mechanisms will be captured using a Reynolds Stress Turbulence model. The integrated UFS simulation tool will be validated against erosion and cratering experiments with sand, lunar/Mars simulants, and reduced gravity effects. The technology will be applied for Moon/Mars landing crater formation and debris transport predictions. This high-fidelity simulation capability will be essential for predicting regolith dust and debris transport and for developing mitigation measures.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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