Decomposition of carbon/phenolic composites for aerospace heatshields: Detailed speciation of phenolic resin pyrolysis products

Francisco Torres-Herrador, Andreas Eschenbacher, Joffrey Coheur, Julien Blondeau, Thierry E. Magin, Kevin M. Van Geem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Thermal Protection Materials (TPM) such as carbon/phenolic composites are used to protect spacecraft structures from extreme conditions. This protection is, in part, achieved by the decomposition via pyrolysis of the phenolic resin. Finite rate chemistry models are however still unable to predict the chemical production rates and composition of the pyrolysis products accurately. This is mostly due to the scarcity of experimental data for model validation. In this work, the decomposition of a phenolic material representative of thermal protection material is studied in a unique micro-pyrolysis unit for the temperature range 300-800°C. This unit is equipped with highly sensitive detectors allowing us to identify and quantify products in a broad range of molecular weights up to 240 gmol−1. More than 50 different products of the pyrolysis of phenolic resin have been quantified with a mass balance closure greater than 80 The major compound groups found are permanent gases, phenols as well as larger molecules such as diphenols and naphthalenes. In addition, the char yield obtained at the fast heating rates employed in our apparatus was found ∼5points lower compared to traditional thermogravimetry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107079
JournalAerospace Science and Technology
Volume119
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Pyrolysis
  • Gas chromatography
  • Carbon/phenolic composite
  • Ablator
  • Heat capacity

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