Professor Radespiel receives Excellence Award

Prediction of loads for re-entry of spacecraft into the atmosphere improved.

Professor Rolf Radespiel, Head of the Institute of Fluid Mechanics and Chairman of the Board of the Lower Saxony Aviation Research Center at the TU Braunschweig, was awarded the Excellence Award of the Committee for Applied Vehicle Technology (AVT). The committee is part of the NATO Organization for Science and Technology. He received the award for his contributions to the scientific working group "Prediction of Hypersonic Boundary Layer Transitions", which he also chaired. Professor Radespiel was originally to receive the rarely awarded prize at the meeting of the AVT Committee in Canada, which was cancelled due to the corona pandemic. Now, the President of the TU Braunschweig, Professor Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla, handed over the certificate on behalf of Professor Radespiel.

The interdisciplinary research group, which was led by Professor Radespiel together with his colleague Professor Steven Schneider from Purdue University, has now completed its work. It consisted of 74 scientists from North America, Europe, Australia and Japan. With her results, she has successfully contributed to improving the prediction of the transition from laminar to turbulent hypersonic boundary layers for various manifestations of this physical phenomenon, according to the text of the certificate. The research group has been the largest active group of the AVT committee so far. In the last six years, more than 100 scientific publications have been produced, all of which are publicly available.

Predictions flow into thermal protection systems of spacecraft

Professor Radespiel's research deals with the flow phenomena of the transition from laminar to turbulent boundary layers in spacecraft. The boundary layer is the near-surface frictional layer of the flow around aerodynamic bodies. Due to the mixing processes in turbulent flows, a strong heating of the vehicle surface occurs during the critical phase of re-entry into the atmosphere. Therefore, accurate predictions of the transition to turbulent flow are particularly important. Professor Radespiel's work has contributed to a fundamental understanding of the physics of this transition and has significantly improved predictions. The wind tunnel "Ludwiegrohr" of the Institute of Fluid Mechanics served as a reference facility for measurements of near-surface flow conditions. The data then flowed into the simulations of his international colleagues. Concrete applications of the results of the working group's basic research are, for example, in the design of new ESA spacecraft. Here, the predictions of hypersonic boundary layer transitions flow into the dimensioning of the thermal protection system of the spacecraft.

"The task as representative for Germany in the research group was an important and exciting challenge for me. I am pleased to have made a contribution to future space travel. The international working group has worked together excellently across borders for six years and achieved great research results," says Professor Rolf Radespiel.

"This award underlines the outstanding international reputation of Professor Radespiel", said TU President Professor Anke Kaysser-Pyzalla. "We are delighted to have such a first-class scientist in our ranks. His work in this research field also increases the visibility of Braunschweig as one of the most innovative locations for aerospace and the research focus "Mobility" of our university".


Original article from: TU Braunschweig/ Press & Communication